Signed on as guards for the trader Burran Moor, the party meander north along the Sword Coast, all its number either escaping a past or seeking a future, all bound for the ruined city of Neverwinter, once the Jewel of the North, now a city looking for heroes to rebuild its former glory.
Their employer is engaged on an odd trading mission. He is buying up high quality domestic items crafted in Neverwinter before the Cataclysm – the eruption of Mount Hotenow that almost wiped it off the face of Faerun – and then taking them back to the city.
Just short of their destination the party is ambushed by raiders. The villains are unconcerned with the trader’s goods and more interested in taking the three half elves who had joined the caravan guard at Waterdeep, all of them keen to head north.
Unwilling to abandon their new colleagues, the rest of the party take on the ambushers. The fight almost goes against them when their employer reveals his true nature – a poisonous wererat, and part of the plot to take the half-elves. The battle is desperate until turned by the intervention of a berserk barbarian who wades into the bowmen who had been close to taking a serious toll.
Even with victory, Danforth seems to have been infected by one of the rats. Both he and Malus search the wererat’s body and the wagon.
The one archer who escaped, along with a nice looking bow of eladrin origin, is intercepted by a patrol of the city guard – squat olive skinned southerners – led by a powerful looking woman – General Sabine. She is both pleased and impressed that these ne’er do wells had been dispatched, identifying them as members of the Dead Rats, a street gang that plagues Neverwinter. She is happy to escort the party to the city, and is particularly interested in Rok Alim’s facial markings. Not all are as impressed as Sabine though, the soldier who had dropped the archer and taken the fine looking bow is heard to comment – “I’d like to see how they’d fight on the wall.”
As to who owns the wagonload of trade goods, well . . .