After a bit of searching for Girdon (who could not be found, oddly enough), Ein and Molok made their way down to the south gate where the carriage they were to escort was waiting. Already there were two people, an elvish bard and a human rogue. The elf announced himself as Perduin Sweetsong and the rogue as Ancre Delton. After a short back and forth and a few poor performances by the bard, the party set off with the carriage, guiding it down the road to Southdock while keeping an eye out for danger.
The party made camp at the end of the first day just off the road. A guardsman stepped out of the carriage to set up camp (Andon’s personal guard) and Andon Ware revealed himself as well. Perduin, having known Andon his whole life, had a nice chat with him, revealing that he was not there for pay,but simply to see the world with his friend. After getting acquainted with the camp setup, the party realized that the guardsman was nowhere to be seen, despite him being Andon’s personal guard. The party elected to protect the camp rather than look for the guard and waited until morning.
Ein and Molok were able to stay up the entire night without consequences due to the Surging Apples they still had, and after a bit of packing up, the guardsman appeared from the forest. He gave a simple knock on the wooden support of Andon’s tent to wake him up, then sat by the fire. After a few attempts to question the guardsman, the party was only able to find out that he was guarding the outer perimeter of the campsite, rather than the inner sanctum. Something was off about this, but the party couldn’t prove anything.
A bit later, after traveling the road for a few hours once again, two men revealed themselves from the trees and took a defensive position on the road ahead of the carriage. They announced themselves as guards of Dayle and stated that there was a toll on the road they travelled by decree of the king. Molok declined the toll for the party, and before they could attempt to move forward, two more men leapt from the brush near the road in an ambush. The fight was quick and bloody, with each member slaying a highwayman. They gathered their armor and weapons for sale, but also found a small letter on one of the men. A fake note from the king, ordering tolls to be paid on the road, which they were unable to ever use due to their brash actions.
That evening, the party set up camp again, and Ancre attempted to follow the guardsman into the forest to see what was up. He was unable to track him, but did eventually find him later. After a few threats from the guardsman (who was simply standing, waiting behind a tree), Ancre decided to hide nearby and watch his actions. Back at the camp, Ein patrolled while Molok and Perduin discussed the state of things. While walking beside Andon’s tent, Ein heard a light choking sound from inside. He immediately took up arms and opened the tent door. Inside was a grey-skinned humanoid, overtop of Andon, choking him in a vicious manner. Ein stabbed at the thing, then called out for help. Andon fell unconscious, and the 3 members of the party fell into combat with the assassin. After a brutal beat-down by the cleric, Molok, the ‘man’ surrendered, trying to salvage what he could of the situation.
The party allowed him to live for the moment, and asked him why he was there and who contracted him. The assassin revealed that he was ‘employed’ by an evil man named Wiseald and that he himself was a shapeshifter. This was confirmed when Perduin realized that the doppelganger looked very similar to Andon, and it was also revealed that the doppelganger was to take Andon’s place and to sabotage relations between the CoZ and the Elven Nations. After a bit of questioning about his origins, he spoke to the party a rather cryptic message. “I was born in a strange oasis. The black desert and red sky stretched for endless miles. My master had dark hair and dark eyes. He called himself Xavier. That is all I have in memory.” Despite the shapechanger’s attempts to garner mercy from the group, Molok slew him, smashing him in with his mace.
After waking Andon, they asked him if he knew a Wiseald. The only prominent man with that last name that Andon knew was the Court Chaplain of Dayle. After the shock of this wore off, the party realized that despite the screams and cries of battle, the guardsman had not come. The party (as well as Ancre who had returned shortly after the fight) searched until late morning for the man, but was not able to find him, save his notepad with torn out pages. The party decided to move on without him, but were wary the rest of the journey.
Andon arrived safely in Southdock, and the party left him so he may board his ship to the Elven Nations (but not before Ancre snagged a few bit of jewelry from the carriage). The party sold off the collected armor and weapons (except one, which they made into a fake antique sword that they sold to a poor shop-owner for extortionate prices), and decided to head back to Dayle.