The group takes on a contract when Scratch offers to head over to the guild and see what's available. He finds two potential jobs: one escorting a writer into The Wilds to research a new adventure novel, and another serving as bodyguards protecting a local trader at a Trade Summit happening in a couple of days. Upon return to the group, the party agrees to take the latter job, as it pays more for substantially less risk.
Upon taking the job, the group contacts the trader that took out the job — Gunnar Olkyn. He is one of the major traders in Selheim, and controls a great deal of the import and export of commodities. But most notably he is the single largest trader of alcohol, and therefore is one of the big wigs in the Selheim trading community. It seems that his bodyguards recently had an accident that prevents them from doing their job, so he had to contract the Adventurer's Guild. Upon meeting, he informs the group that their job will be to serve as his bodyguards through the beginning of the summit while he arranges for more private security, which notably includes the welcome banquet. He invites them to look over the intel that his own team had procured on the various attendees.
There are many attendees of various tiers in the trade pyramid, but three stand out to the group as having vested interest in Gunnar Olkyn's dealings:
- [[Aliya Khouri]] — a delegate from the distant city of Yamm. She represents the Khouri family, who are the largest Yammite purveyors of commodities ranging from silks, to iron, to fine wine. A potential trade partner — or competetor — of Olkyn.
- Gylan Bedde — the leader of The Saints of Hawic, an adventuring-group-turned-brewers that operate a brewery in an old monastery on the edge of the Wilds. They have an exclusive distribution deal with Olkyn.
- Tarkun Drack — A new distiller from the dwarven city of Ironhome. He has steadfastly refused to submit to what he calls "outrageous" demands to become a partner in Olkyn's distribution network. This is despite the fact that Olkyn is the sole distributor of Ironhome's older, and more popular, distillers.
The group decides on rough roles. Cordelia will be in charge of physical security. Ander will watch Drack, Felix will watch the Saints of Hawic, and Scratch will watch Aliya. Scratch disguises himself as an inexperienced rookie.
At the party, things go relatively smoothly. Gunnar interacts with most of the people. Drack implies that he "no longer needs" Gunnar's services, and seems quite pleased by that. The Saints of Hawic are pawning a new psychedelic ale. And Aliya is clearly planning something — it is implied that the Khouris are expanding their interests and want to work out a more formal trade arrangement with Selheim.
During the dinner itself, the group gets to head back to the "cafeteria" area where the rest of the guards are eating. The halfling from the Saints of Hawic has a bit of fun at Scratch's expense.
After the banquet, Scratch sneaks past the home that Aliya is staying in — none other than the recently ghost-busted Mansfield Estate! She seems to be having a large party of some kind, and Scratch notices several notable politicians and summit attendees (including Drack) heading in and out of the party. They are being tempted by fine wines, and Yammite servant girls (and boys).
Ultimately, Gunnar hires the party on for an extended contract, asking them to get to the bottom of whatever it is that Aliya is planning.