The Talons disguised themselves as cultists and followed the trail left by the passing army with ease. Despite dispersing on their retreat, groups of cultists had trod the ground flat in their passing. The Talons soon happened upon a rear-guard, holding out in a small hollow, their number consisted of a group of cultists and a large red Dragonborn, as well as a small band of Kobolds. After some awkward small-talk, the Talons were on their way again, the foe none the wiser for their passing and the location of the camp disclosed to them by the unsuspecting cultists.
The camp itself lay in a wide hollow, with sloping cliff faces surrounding the settlements, rising to over 100ft at the tallest point. Kobolds made their filthy lair at one end, whilst at the other lay a network of caves, guarded by several of the black-robed and masked Dragon cultists. Security was lax, and the Talons easily talked their way into the encampment, before setting about investigating the size and threat of the enemy force, as well as searching for the mysterious Dwarven Harper.
The prisoners were soon located, and with some friendly banter, the guards allowed the Talons access on the pretence that they wanted to gloat at the captives. Tarlach Malthar was able to converse with the Dwarf, who seemed unwilling to be rescued, having formed his own plans, but grudgingly agreed to accompany the trio. Adaven and Grey decided to gather more information on the camp, in order that a plan could be formed.
Grey spent several hours conversing with the mercenaries and soldiers in the camp, running into a fellow Dragonborn who had been present when the Talons ran into the rearguard of the cult army on the approach to the main camp. The red Dragonborn and Grey made small talk and Grey was able to gather some intelligence on the number and leadership of the cult in the Sword Coast.
Adaven made even better progress, casting a spell of invisibility, he was able to access the cave (ominously referred to as the hatchery), and observe the leadership in conversation, the mysterious Wearer in Purple – Frulam Mondath and her superior, the Half-Dragon, Wyrmspeaker Rezmir. The Wyrmspeaker appeared to be heading south on cult business, and had charged Mondath with protecting the hatchery before moving on with the remainder of the cult’s forces. Adaven was also able to gather further intelligence on cult numbers and hierarchy, stealing ledgers and papers from Mondath’s desk.
On meeting again, later at night, the trio forged a plan to escape with their prisoners. They would gather garb to disguise the prisoners, Adaven would disguise himself as Frulam Mondath in order to convince the guards to let him see the prisoners alone while Grey set fire to the Kobold camp, causing a commotion and drawing defenders away. Tarlach Malthar aided the plan by building piles of flammable material amongst the haphazard Kobold tents. The trio and their liberated allies would then scale the sloping wall of the canyon by rope and escape into the night.
The plan started smoothly enough, Tarlach Malthar and Adaven were able to secure the prisoners, and Grey certainly caused a distraction. Unfortunately, the distraction was entirely focused on Grey himself, and he was outed as “the Slayer of ”/wikis/langdedrosa-cyanwrath" class=“wiki-page-link”>Cyanwrath“, a title he took some pride in, but one that made him rather unpopular amongst the ”/wikis/Cult%20of%20the%20Dragon/new" class=“create-wiki-page-link”>Cult of the Dragon. Grey decided that flight would be more prudent than flight on this occasion, and took to his heels, gathering a sizeable following as he went.
Adaven and Tarlach Malthar were thus able to escape with the liberated prisoners far easier than they had suspected, and after ushering them into a safer position away from the ridge, began looking for Grey. Fortunately the Dragonborn had eventually shaken his pursuers, and was able to spy his allies atop the camp’s natural wall, he quickly made haste to the rope proffered to him, and began scrambling to safety. As he climbed, Tarlach Malthar fired a few arrows into the pursuing cultists, and was able to wing the Wearer of Purple, much to his satisfaction.
With the prisoners free, the Talons made haste back to Phandalin while confusion still reigned in the cultist’s lair.