Regrouping after their fight with the strange creatures in the Open Hearth Inn, the group finally began to take a look around the tavern. Renald found a journal belonging to Arler, the proprietor of the Inn, that explained that the townsfolk were forcefully removed from their village by the Publicani. Some of them were conscripted into the Baileforge army, and anybody that couldn't reasonably fight was sent to a refugee camp in Southern Mofrain. As the group was deliberating on their next move, they suddenly became aware that the Inn was being surrounded by someone or something.
Then, as Cordyr was using Hufflepuff to investigate the interlopers, a stray arrow flew out and after narrowly missing Hufflepuff, stuck itself on the front door of the Inn. The arrow was carrying a note that simply read, "Drop your weapons and walk out with your hands up." Hoping that the threateners were reasonable folk, Renald and Silva stepped out and did as told. A female voice yelled at them to ALL come out, they have five minutes to do so or they would be forcibly restrained. Renald told her that he needed to talk it over with them and so they went back inside. Just as the five minutes were up, and the enemies set the building ablaze,Renald used Leomund's Tiny Hut to protect the group, and Soren used illusions to make it appear as if the group died in the fire.
They waited for a couple hours for the fire to subside, and then they started to catch glimpses of figures surround the rubble. As one of the figures approached the illusory bodies, Silva restrained him and knocked him unconscious. Soren used this as an opportunity to get information, so he made himself look like the Orc barbarian and walked out of the rubble to get a better view of the enemies. He walked out and saw three bowmen and one halfling figure with a jeweled mask on and wielding a very ornate golden bow. She walked up to him and started to see through his illusion so when she got close enough, Soren attacked her. At this point everybody jumped into the fray, it was a tough fight and most everyone took some good hits but it wasn't too long before they got the better of their would-be captors and knocked out the halfling leader.
Cordyr walked over to the halfling and removed the jeweled mask, and to his own dismay found that his suspicions were correct. This was Cosima Farfoot, one of the Vanguards of the Forge that had supposedly been missing for the last six months, that he had seen vanish with his own eyes. He had only a few moments to gaze on her unconscious face though, because as he removed the mask her form began to shudder, and soon every part of her was crumbling away into dust or ash and was very quickly blowing away in the wind. Before he knew it, Cordyr found himself kneeling next to an empty pile of clothes and armor, wondering if the Vanguards had truly become evil, or if there was something he didn't know that might clear this whole mess up.