The adventurers experience strange and symbolic dreams the night before they are due to set out from Cadia. They wake in the morning to find that Wilril Silentread, a local wilden who sells alchemical reagents, admits to slipping them a magical herb that causes prophetic dreams in anyone who ingests it. Wilril tells the party that their have been dangerous portents surrounding them, and he gives them enough of the herb so that they may all use it three more times.
The party sets out to the town of Thowald’s Crossing as the guards for a trade caravan charged with obtaining supplies vital to the survival and reconstruction of the town of Cadia. They are joined in the defense of the caravan by a half-elf cleric named Ravalynn Greensleeves. She speaks openly with the party, but reacts strangely upon discovering the scar on Tolmacopo’s palm. The party attempts to find out what each cart in the caravan is transporting, but are met with resistance from a particularly secretive merchant.
When the caravan makes camp for the night; the party wake to discover that Ravalynn has disappeared, and they are under attack by unknown assailants. The party kill their attackers, and discover that they were Crimson Fists mercenaries. Many of the merchants are spooked by the attack, and the secretive merchant attempts to leave the caravan. The party chase, and accidentally kill, the merchant.
The party discover that the merchant was transporting slaves. The slaves are completely comatose, and they all wear strange enchanted collars. When Ace tries to remove one of the collars the slave suffers violent seizures and dies. The party discover that the caravan’s manifest lists the cargo as alchemical supplies for the magical academy in Thowald’s Crossing, and they decide to investigate.
The rest of the trip passes without major incident. Though the party does notice that they are being followed.
Upon reaching Thowald’s Crossing the party bribes the town guards so that they can enter the city without their cargo of comatose slaves being discovered. The party learns the location of the magic academy. They also discover that there is a Crimson Fists lodge within Thowald’s Crossing. A few members of the group remain with the cartload of unfortunate slaves for the night while the rest of the party secure lodgings at the local inn. In the morning they set out for the magic academy.