Anders and Anselmo talk to Rosanna, the leader of the caravan, who offers 50gp each if they join her caravan as guards, plus a large bounty if they deliver the bandit leader alive to Queensport. She has a ship waiting for them 20 miles away and will take them. (She works for Gwynneth Havar, noble of Estaria.) She also invites them to camp and break bread with the caravan, whatever they decide.
Dorn is securing their prisoner a short distance away. Suddenly he smells orc. A brand new buck-naked orc appears right where the attackers had gathered to charge. When discovered, the orc flees. Otter runs it down and runs it through. Dorn checks its tracks and confirms it did not sneak into the area, it appeared there as if by magic. But the bandits don’t seem capable of magic, so what’s going on? Dorn draws parallels to the goblins they fought at the barn last month and urges Anselmo to consecrate the site against evil. (He does, if only to make Dorn feel better. Anselmo doesn’t expect it to have any real effect.)
Returning to look over the prisoner, they notice his clothes are common but his armor is too expensive for a bandit. He’s wearing the signet ring of the Bloodwick clan. They decide to get the bandit’s side of the story before they give Rosanna an answer and wake him with a splash of wine in his face.
He explains that he’s Lord Kalen Rustheart of Felleg’Avin. He and his picked men have been harassing these caravans for months now trying to shut down slave trade from Dellenshire to Estaria. Otter sneak off and finds a dozen hobbits in chains, with sacks over their heads in the back of a wagon.
Kalen is acting on his own, the noble families of Felleg’Avin know about the slavers but choose to ignore it, sacrificing their allies in Dellenshire to avoid conflict with the much more powerful state of Estaria. So Kalen took it on himself to do something about it, and disguised his men as bandits so his family wouldn’t intervene and wouldn’t be seen as going against the wishes of the other nobles.
Anders, a fellow noble (though from a less prestigious family), sides with Kalen. They agree to help Kalen, and discuss whether they should kill the slavers.
As they speak, Rosanna approaches and invites them again to eat and camp with the caravan tonight. Anselmo confronts her with the slaves, she asks, “is that a problem?” (Slavery is illegal in Felleg’Avin, but not everyone opposes it.) “We are at your mercy,” she declares and surrenders her caravan. After the previous battle the slavers have no fight left in them.
Anselmo speaks to some of the hobbits and learns they were sold into slavery by their own people.
In the end they free the hobbits and send them home in two of the wagons, with Kalen and his remaining men as guards. Rosanna and the he slavers go on their way alone, with their gold and the rest of their good intact.
After a good rest the PCs set out again for Eghal. The forest is still a dangerous place though, and a few days later they are attacked by giant wasps. Otter puts three of them to sleep and they dispatch the rest without taking a single hit.