Having agreed to help the Red Arrow Coaching line for Curd Weiss, the group set off on the west road on foot to see if they could find out what happened to the late shipping cart. Passing a Strigany merchant in a garish wagon offering his wares, they asked about the road ahead and a lost cart. The merchant said he had seen cart tracks in the mud going off the road about 7 miles back. Continuing on they found the tracks and followed them. They were about 3 miles from the Welcome Rest Inn where the cart was last seen.
A ways off the road they found a small broken keg in the mud by the tracks laying in a puddle of black sludge. Investigating the sludge they found it was gun powder ruined by the rains, the keg was marked with the symbol of Averland, seeming having fallen off the cart while it traversed the rough ground. The tracks continued on into a large copse of trees.
Entering the copse they found a clearing occupied by a band of 5 mutants, some of them were drunk and one was badly injured. The cart was there, along with a makeshift camp scattered with empty wine bottles. They charged to attack the hated mutants, who were quickly and efficiently dispatched.
Searching the camp they found a bloody trail that led to the butchered carcasses of an ox and the two coachmen. The racks of drying meat in the camp were not just ox meat. Most of the wine had been drunk by the bandits, the other two casks of “industrial chemicals” (gunpowder) were nowhere to be seen, but the Cathayan silks were there. Taking the silks they traveled on to the Welcome Rest. And informed the proprietor of the fate of the cart. There was another carter there heading for Averheim, he used his ox the next morning to retrieve the cart and the bodies back to the Rest and they returned to Averheim with the new cart loaded with the recovered silks.
Curd Weiss was very happy to hear their report and paid them handsomely for recovering the silks and dealing with the mutants. He said he had another job in the morning if they were interested, he had a plan.
Returning to the docks late that evening they were surprised to find Captain Marcus Baerfaust looking for them there later that evening. Baerfaust offered to buy them drinks at the Sword of Sigismund, a tavern not far from the docks with a halfling chef. Arriving there he ordered a house wine (apparently Baerfaust is not much of a wine snob) and proceeded to question them about the mutant warband so close to his city. Tense words were exchanged between Baerfaust and Roderick because of their history, and Noa followed Roderick’s lead irritating the Captain. Bjorn and Raus were slightly embarassed by the rudeness of their associates and apologized to the Captain afterwards. One thing they did learn from him though was that there was a rash of stolen gunpowder plaguing the city.
The next morning they met early to scour the dock alleys for clues before going to the Red Arrow. Roderick was surprised when Frederick Grosz wanted to talk to him immediately. Visiting Grosz in his room at the Pig, he found Grosz alarmed at the appearance of Captain Baerfaust in the docks. He was worried Baerfaust was going to crack down in the docks, but Roderick assured him that was not the case. However, it became clear the docks were all in a tizzy at the appearance of the illustrious Captain of the Averheim Greatswords showing up in their neighborhood.
Traveling to the Red Arrow Curd Weiss provided them with tabards emblazoned with the crest of both the Red Arrow and the von Kauffman family and generally fussed over their appearance. He said as agents of the Arrow he expected them to act with dignity and respect and their appearance and actions should uphold the reputation of the Red Arrow. His plan was to use a popular local Noblewoman, Gravin Clothilde von Alptraum, as bait to catch some of the road agents who had been plaguing the shipping lines. The Gravin had volunteered her help, and Weiss had made sure word of her plans to travel to her summer residence very public. He wanted the group to travel with her, hidden in her carriage, and hopefully surprise the bandits he expected to waylay the carriage. They talked price and agreed to the plan, thinking the road agents were tied to the problems they were already investigating. They met the beautiful and charming Gravin and her aging bodyguard.Giselbert Kuhn, as well as Werner the crusty coachman assigned by the Red Arrow to drive the coach. They set off, and paraded around the Plenzerplatz a couple times with the Gravin waving to the commoners as they went. The trap set, they headed off down the same road as the the other day but soon turned south towards the Gravin’s estate.
After a few miles, the road was blocked by fallen branches. The adventurers stayed hidden in the coach while Kuhn and Werner cleared the blockage. After about 10 minutes they set off again. About a minute down the road they heard the sound of a horn in the distance behind them. Deciding to continue on, about two minutes later they heard the sound of hoofbeats racing around the carriage which soon pulled to a halt. A voice rang out from in front of the carriage “We have heard that the von Alptraum diamond is riding in that carriage, drop it out the window and you may proceed on your way with nobody getting hurt!” The Gravin twisted her ring in her hand looking imploringly to the adventurers. Kuhn smiled grimly and nodded to them. They burst from the carriage to confront their attackers and found 5 mounted bandits wearing tricorn hats and long coats with the collars turned up to hide their faces. Two of them were brandishing pistols at the coach. The fight was on.