After last week's adventure, the party is ready to track down the origin of the man in the white cloak. Nesta realizes that there is something strange about the cloak that she can't quite place, perhaps some sort of magical residue that is setting off her wizard senses. She believes that the herbalist in town might know more.
The party visits Aubree Harrison, the town herbalist, and questions her about the white cloak and what kind of magic may be on the cloak. Aubree checks the cloak and tells the characters that there is some illusion magic hiding a symbol of some sort, and she can get rid of the illusion using a specially brewed potion. But, she needs some unusual ingredients. The feathers of a Peryton, and a local fungus are required for the brew, plus a small 50gp fee that will pay for the time and energy she must put into making the potion.
After some discussion, the party sets off towards a meadow mentioned by Aubree to search for the necessary fungus. J'kar leaves the party behind and travels through a different area, eventually circling around to meet the party again. With everyone working together, except Boksel (who is in a tavern searching for information on Perytons), the party is able to find the proper fungus without accidentally getting poisoned. During the search, J'kar investigates a nearby Oak tree and mistakenly believes the bark has healing powers.
The group meets back in town briefly and agrees to go towards the mountains where the Peryton are said to live. The party then climbs up the mountain using a path found by Boksel, and gets within 60 feet of the Peryton nest. J'kar then ties a rope to Quintus' waist, allowing Quintus to stealthily climb 30 feet higher towards the nest. Using mage hand, Quintus grabs a feather from the nest without waking the sleeping bird inside. The party then scrambles away and returns to Aubree.
Using the components, and 50 gold pieces, Aubree reveals a symbol to the party. Aremon recognizes the symbol and tells the party that he saw it in a thrift shop in Oxfield while he was doing humanitarian work in one of the run-down neighborhoods. The party decides to follow the symbol to Oxfield to learn what they can of the man in the white cloak.
The trip to Oxfield is relatively uneventful, but a half-day's journey outside the city, the party finds an elf merchant being harrassed by a group of bandits. Using J'kar's intimidating presence, and a little bit of magic, the bandits are chased off. The merchant offers to take the group to Oxfield on his cart, while telling stories of the time before the kingdom was at peace. He attempts to make conversation with J'Kar, but decides instead to tell stories until they reach the city of Oxfield. The players help the merchant unload his goods, and in return the merchant directs them to a tavern named the Dancing Ladies.
At the dancing ladies, the group meets a middle-aged dwarf woman who keeps a watchful eye on her tavern and her children. They rent a room in the inn and make small talk with Merthana Strongarm before turning in for bed. J'Kar also makes friends with Aedon, Merthana's son.
The next day, Quintus visits his old home in Oxfield, hoping to find some familiar people or places. Instead, he finds a broken down neighborhood fool of street urchins and drug addicts. His old home lies in ruins, and the people he once knew are all gone. He returns to the Dancing Ladies distraught with the state of the city, and to his surprise is comforted by the normally harsh J'Kar. Merthana also shares in his despair and reminisces with him about the old days.
During the day, most of the group visits a library while Boksel spends his time in a tavern asking about the symbol. The group finds out that the symbol was once related to a cult of humans that were bent on destroying the orcs. They also discover at the thrift shop, that there was a man who bought a scroll that had the same symbol, leading them back to the Dancing Ladies in search of a man named Arthur Brooks.
Arthur turns out to be a nervous young man who doesn't really have much conviction, but he is in possession of a scroll and a letter giving the details of a secret meeting to go down with a secret password hidden in a riddle on the scroll. The riddle reads: "Many have heard me, but nobody has seen me, and I will not speak back until spoken to. What am I?" The party correctly figures out that the answer to the riddle is "an echo."
The group follows the trail leading to an abandoned warehouse where Quintus infiltrates using a disguise. He learns of a secret organization called The Brotherhood of Light that is planning on restoring the Kingdom to its once great glory. The Brotherhood is looking for new recruits, and they have designed a test that will show the most worthy candidate. All new recruits in attendance have been cursed with cloaks that slowly tighten about the neck until an artifact is retrieved from an old keep North of town. Quintus leaves the meeting with a map to the keep and a very strong desire to retrieve the item so he can take the cloak off before being choked to death.
The party quickly acquires mounts and moves off towards the keep. As they begin their travel, they are spotted by the Peryton from before, but Aremon is able to Command it away before a fight breaks loose.