Having returned to Stormhaven, the party are initially at somewhat of a loss what to do with themselves. Kalissa vanishes; the others speculate her father is forcing her to attend charm school. Kasglan continues his research into the hag transformation process but learns that more knowledge is simply not available in town, and must be acquired from the capital or further afield. Bud is summoned by the leadership of the Fishermen’s Guild and informed that there are rumors floating around that the Treldor Historical Society is a bit too chummy with Lessers and the Guild is concerned this may reflect back on them. Sim spends a couple of days first keeping an eye on the house where Hegrin’s mysterious female employer went after leaving the warehouse, but the house appears to be inhabited by a tradesman’s family. Subsequently, he tries to acquire a harness of elven mail in town, without luck, but while out and about notices a changed attitude of the people around him. Attempts at counter-surveillance by the party produce no evidence that Sim is being watched, but rather, that the Society is gaining a reputation (with one townswoman thanking them for “standing up to the Iron Alliance”).
While the members are discussing these things over dinner, a young girl comes to the door and claims to urgently require the Society’s help (“They’re going to kill my family!”) before running off. Kasglan and Paxton set off in immediate pursuit, while Bud, Sim, and Aetidius collect their gear while pondering whether this might be a trap. As it soon proves, it is a trap: Kasglan and Paxton are intercepted at a bridge some 300 yards from the house by two cloaked spearmen, while Bud and Sim notice another three similar figures charging the house.
A desperate battle ensues in which the spearmen are revealed to be bearded devils (barbazu) who attack with glaives and their poisonous beards. Paxton and Kasglan manage to kill their opponents and run back to the house, only to find Bud and Aetidius have been incapacitated by their foes, Sim and Fiona Fisher dead, and young Maria being hauled off by the surviving devils.
Paxton makes himself invisible and pursues, catching up in time to see the devils deliver Maria to the house of Hegrin’s employer (no sign of the regular family). The hulking bodyguard takes the girl inside and the devils leave. Paxton tries to peek in through the windows but can only see darkness.
Meanwhile, Kasglan hauls Sim’s corpse to the temple of Lantira across the canal, and spends most of Sim’s money to have him raised from the dead (accompanied by some bribery and threats to discourage too close an inspection of the corpse). Sim is successfully restored to life, but will need four days to recuperate. After dragging Sim home, Kasglan attends to Bud’s and Aetidius’ wounds and everyone, feeling rather the worse for wear, goes to bed.
At breakfast the following morning, the crew decide to confront Hegrin with the fact his employer has apparently ordered this raid. The actual confronting is left to Bud and Paxton, what with Sim needing to recuperate and Aetidius and Kasglan concerned they might escalate matters (given that they’ve both wanted to inflict grievous bodily harm on Hegrin in the not too distant past). Upon arrival at Hegrin’s house, however, Bud and Paxton find Hegrin stone dead at his desk, his mortal coil having been shuffled off by a dagger thrust to the heart. The pair conduct a swift search of the premises, gather all the loot they can carry including Hegrin’s journals, and return to base.
The journals indicate that Hegrin knew nothing about his employer and while he welcomed the extra income from directing the Society, he worried the rank and file might get out of line. To forewarn him of this, he infiltrated a halfling spy into the household as a servant. (Note: having been identified, said spy was taken on a fishing trip by Bud. As bait.)
It having taken almost an entire day to glean this information from Hegrin’s haphazardly written journals, the Society decide to have Hegrin raised from the dead (at his own expense) and to keep him on a tight leash. To this end, Bud and Paxton return to Hegrin’s house only to find the body gone. Shifting to wolf form, Bud leads the pair to an undertaker’s, where it emerges Hegrin has been cremated (with extraordinary speed) at the instructions of his (halfling) manservant, who is also the executor of his will.
With Hegrin’s body reduced to ashes (or perhaps secreted, but in any case, no longer available to the party) certain leads have withered. The party withdraws to consider its next move, which may involve moving the clubhouse.