Having found a poster proclaiming a 100gp reward for bringing in the bandit leader Big Dog, Svartsune Soteson the dwarf accepted the help of Aidarion in finding a group to take the job on. Dain and Serafina joined them.
Following a small-time merchant’s wagon, the group set out along the road east and then south from Chepdale. Though they had disguised themselves, no bandit group took the bait, and the merchant and his two guards made it safely to within sight of the Old Imperial Fort held by Longstrand soldiers.
The four adventurers decided this was going into bandit free territory, and turned back. They had a short conversation with two elven scouts keeping a lookout from a hill crest, but these would only give general advice not to search for bandits so close to the fort.
The group then posed as a couple looking for a place to build something, the couple's guard and their architect. They went back along the road, looking for likely vantage points for bandits. Remembering a good one from their trip the other way, they set out for it. On arriving near the spot, they barely glimpsed a couple of suspicious types sneaking away as the adventurers approached. They followed, staying in character, which led to a moment of misunderstanding when they met the local druid Divitius, who was a little terse with them at first; he thought they were looking to build in his wilderness without so much as asking his leave. The misunderstanding was quickly cleared up, and Divitius withdrew.
The group tracked the suspected bandits for several hours, stopping to rest for the night. The next day the tracks led them to a gully, where they became impossible to follow due to the hardness of the terrain.
Searching the general area, the four found that a natural cave had been blocked by a large, secret door, and that smoke was rising from artificially hardened cracks in the ceiling.
They then blocked the crack, intending to smoke the bandits out, while magically setting off tremors in an attempt to disguise the effect as naturally occurring. After several minutes had passed and there were no signs of the bandits emerging, the adventurers lost patience with this plan. Some climbed into the gully where they presumed the door was and began to study it, while the others stayed on the cliffs above. The door suddenly swung open, and a brief and deadly encounter ensued. Over ten bandits defended the cave mouth, leading to the death of Dain and the capture of Aidarion, although the bandits suffered some casualties too in the desperate struggle. Being split up had made the group vulnerable, and the bandit sortie irresistible.
Serafina and Svartsune stumbled back through the wilderness as fast as they could manage to alert the Regulars in Chepdale. They reacted quickly and sent out a mounted force of some twenty of the Regulars’ finest, and the two adventurers followed behind on mounts lent to them by the city guard. They managed to assist the Regulars further in catching a group of eight bandits in the wilderness, while other Regulars stormed the magically concealed cave and freed Aidarion.
The Regulars later reported that they had found an area in the back of the caves where two animated statues were guarding a door. Since there was no indication that the bandits had passed the magical guardians, the Regulars decided to leave that area untouched.
They found evidence that a lot of documents had been burned in the cave very recently, and indeed attributed Big Dog’s capture to him doing this rather than fleeing immediately. They were on particular lookout for a small chest marked with the wizard Nîla’s seal, but did not find it. It is assumed that the Mongrels were working with someone else to transport all the stolen goods somewhere it could be sold, and someone who supplied them with the means to make the magical door and the special prison used to hold Aidarion.
Big Dog’s hanging in the Forum of Chepdale was a highly attended affair, and a great cheer went up when the big, scarred man was announced to be dead. But there was no doubt that there were still Mongrels in the area, and Nîla’s goods have not yet been accounted for.

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