The Merchant Adventurer’s Guild headquarters in The Dessarin Valley is at The Bargewright Inn. Once a lonely hilltop wayside inn overlooking the ford across The Dessarin River, the Inn has grown into a massive walled community of wooden towers, slum dwellings, tents and caravans now entirely cloaking the hill, dwarfing the village of Womford which lies across the river.
The settlement is nominally run by Chalaska Muruin a terse female veteran soldier with cold eyes who leads a troop of forty gate guards known as The Bargewright Swords. However the massive inn building itself is managed by Nalaskur Thaelond, the head of the local guild and the party’s contact.
The party ask The Watchful Knight to stay outside to avoid spooking the locals. It seems to understand and takes up a position outside of the walls of the settlement.
Thaelond’s problem is that the inn’s regular supply barge from Yartar is overdue requiring him to get suppliers from Waterdeep. At the same time, he has received word that an important delegation travelling South has gone missing. There is money to be earned by anyone finding the members of the delegation or some of the valuables they had on them. Thaelond believes that he needs to travel to Waterdeep personally to discuss matters with the Merchant Guild council but does not trust Chalaska Muruin or her swords with his post or duties.
It doesn’t take long for things to go wrong for the party. Within hours, vital keys are stolen from the inn itself. The party’s investigations lead to tense discussions with Chalaska and violent encounters with panicky merchants peddling exotic animals (spiders in this case). Money goes missing from the strongroom. Evidence at the scene seems to point to Chalaska, but could easily be a frame-up. The party become restless because of the unwelcome delay in their search for the missing delegation. Chalaska reveals that The Most Honourable Guild of Merchant Adventurers is, in fact, a front organisation for the Zhentarim – knowledge that comes as a surprise and unwelcome shock to some members of the party.
Eventually Thaelond returns to the inn via teleport spell. He looks angered that his task was mishandled by the party, but Chalaska and the forty swords seem to have reached an accommodation with the party and there is a tense stand-off in the settlement. Thaelond demands that the party leaves Bargewright Inn, which they are more than happy to do even though their reputation as reliable Guild agents has clearly been sullied in the eyes of at least one senior Guild Member.
The party considers that their ties with the Merchant Adventurers are likely severed by the incidents at Bargewright Inn, but that they hold a degree of respect for and have a possible (but tenuous) ally in Chalaska Muruin.
There seems little option for the party but to seek the missing delegation and so they head across the river to Womford and aim North East towards Summit Hall – an ancient fortress on the road to Beliard.