What was the plan in coming out to this place without the party who are going to do all the heavy lifting?
I have been trying to figure out what is going on and what the thinking was.
The answer that I have been able to come up with is that the mercenaries are hired to guard the camp, the personal guard are to guard Almah. There was at one point another group, but they turned on the Princess in the wilderness. The mercenaries served admirably in defending the Princess, as did her guard and defeated the group of swindlers and highwaymen that Almah had taken up with.
Perhaps even Dashki did something notable, which has allowed her to think well of him.
The problem was that at this point, she had no one who was to claim the city. She dispatched Garavel back to hire some new adventurers whose mission it would be to clear the town for her. That is where he hires the group.
No one openly speaks about the previous group, as it is a bit of a dishonor that Almah would have hired such men. But if some poking is done, folks would mention a few things about a previous group that was in their company.
When I ran this, yes,
Mercenaries guard the camp; Almah's personal guard protects her specifically. Dashki is the scout, and the PCs are the "special ops" sent in to do the heavy lifting.