From Thundertree the party headed back to Neverwinter with the dragon’s head in tow. Back in the city, they found that Lord Neverember had set sail to Waterdeep. However, a message was left to the party asking them to meet Sildar Hallwinter at the Sleeping Dog tavern.
At the tavern they found Sildar who introduced them to Ontharr Frume and Leosin Erlanthar, members of The Order of the Gauntlet and The Harpers respectively. The three explained that they were instructed by their orders to form a Quiet Council to organize investigations into the recent activities of The Cult of the Dragon. To that end, they had a request for the party. From what little information that had been gathered, it seemed that the cult was moving the treasure they had stolen from the sacked towns into the Mere of Dead Men. They wanted the party to track the caravans into the mere, find out what the cult’s true plans were, and kill Rezmir, the warrior that had led the attack on Phandalin. Having agreed to undertake this task, the party set out making preparations.
Garret first checked in on Hektar Goodpick and confirmed that a caravan of provisions had set out for Phandalin as requested. Then he used his criminal contacts to meet up with Jamna Gleamsilver, an agent of The Zhentarim. She confirmed that the Zhentarim were also concerned about the cult’s activities and were considering allying themselves with the other orders in response. Garret asked her to help set up logging operations in Thundertree to supply lumber for rebuilding the towns. She agreed to dispatch some guards to the ruined town to watch over the location until proper operations could be established.
That evening, Agatar spent a bit of coin buying rounds in the tavern and getting to know the locals. Before long he had the stories and drink flowing freely and the locals had come to think highly of him, even referring to him as the Lord of Thundertree with some encouragement from Garret. During the carousing the party learned that folks were generally pleased with Lord Neverember and the progress he had made in rebuilding Neverwinter. Although some questioned whether or not it was right for him to hold the titles for both Waterdeep and Neverwinter. They also learned of the Carnath Roadhouse, a staging area for supplies and men for rebuilding the High Road in the Mere of Dead Men. Any caravans passing through the mere would surely have to stop there. Many folk warned to be on the lookout for Voaraghamanthar the Black Death. An ancient black dragon that ruled over the mere.
The next morning the party headed south toward the mere. The trip down through Leilon was uneventful. The journey through the mere was another story. As warned, the road was in utter ruin thanks to the encroachment of the waters from the marsh. Soon they found themselves wading in waist deep murky waters as gnarled and twisted trees rose overhead. That evening they were attacked by a strange mass of writhing tentacles. The tentacles rose up around them, wrapping their slimy trunks around the heroes and threatening to crush the life out of them. Eventually the party won out and drove the creature off.
Shortly after that encounter the party stopped to make camp for the night. What would have been otherwise a dangerous and uncomfortable arrangement was made quite pleasant thanks to Laremmi’s casting of Leomund’s Tiny Hut.
The next day they came across a crew of workers repairing the road and the soldiers guarding them. Their foreman claimed that no carvans had come from the north and did not seem to know anything about the cultists.
Later, they finally arrived at Carnath Roadhouse. A caravan from the south laden with tools and supplies for rebuilding the road. The party approached the half-orc barking out orders. He called himself Bog Luck and agreed to house the party for the evening in exchange for some manual labor. The party helped unload the wagons and noted the locked door in warehouse and the strange jingle of metal in some of the crates.
Later the workers gathered in the common room for some dinner served up by Gristle Pete. There they came to be suspicious of some of the merchants and their guards that seemed to keep to themselves. Agatar boldly approached the group and asked some rather pointed questions until Gristle Pete shooed everyone out for the evening.
Once the night had quieted down, Garret snuck out of their room and into the warehouse aided by an invisibility spell from Laremmi. There he found Bog Luck marking some of the crates with an ‘x’ in chalk and moving them into the locked storeroom. Garret followed Bog Luck into the storeroom and ended up getting locked inside alone. That gave him the opportunity he needed to inspect the crates. Inside he found silver dishes, goblets, urns, and other valuables that were quite out of place in the mere. Most likely the goods stolen from the towns pillaged by the cultists. As he investigated, he heard a creak behind him. A trap door was pushed aside and the scaly form of a lizard man climbed out, followed by several others.