The Red Riders decide to accept the offer of the Brindol Councilman. They agree to attempt to assault the Red Hand forces that are left and to return with the town’s precious heirlooms and their captured citizens. The Riders accept the assistance of one militia member, a female warlock, and a female cleric from the local MoonDust Temple. The Riders are made aware that another group has been offered the same reward for returning the same items to the town. The Riders also learn that the other group is led by none other than the fugitive Lertol, a man that they have been pursuing for several months.
After stocking up on the necessary provisions and emergency potions the group plans to get a good night’s rest before setting out on the trail. They leave town just before sunrise and follow the now familiar beginning of a trail through the Brindol woods heading northeast. The group has not traveled but an hour or so, and as the sun begins to peek over the mountains they find a sight that raises the hair on their necks instantly. The corpses that they left as a warning to the Red Hand have been rearranged in a gruesome parody of living beings at camp. As they examine the scene they quickly find that they have stepped into a trap. Vincenzo, taking the lead for the group, is skewered by a poisoned arrow from somewhere up the road. He ducks behind a large boulder and alerts the group. Margea, the cleric is quick to attempt to aid Vincenzo while the others take cover. She becomes the next target of the sniper while healing Vincenzo as an arrow plunges into her torso.
The group tries to hide in the trees and brush and moves to surround their attackers. Thaden is able to see the fleeing assassin as the others head toward the place that they suspect it to be hidden. They soon discover that the assassin is highly skilled and as quick of a fighter as they have ever seen. It is only through the team effort and constant pressure on the slippery figure that they soon force it to attempt to flee again from the fight. Much to their shock, the creature becomes a large snake before their very eyes and disappears into the brush. Thaden is not about to let the assassin slip away now and he heads the beast off. Even with the greivous wounds that the party has received they are finally able to finish their foe off. The snake returns to its original form upon its death. Vincenzo, with a snarl of victory, pounces on the corpse in anticipation of looking upon the dead visage of Lertol the Mage. He is speechless when the vaguely human face is otherwise. The question on everyone’s mind is soon answered as the body search continues. The assassin is tattooed with the mark of the House of the Circlet!!