Having been well fed by Nari Reaver at the Bull Arms, Grim, Willis and Rinjiminee leave the private dining room to find the village council having a quiet discussion around the fire. Feeling that they might be discussing them, the party try to eavesdrop. So intent in that task that they fail to hear Reminamorenatheral approach them from behind. After catching them by surprise, she calmly introduces herself as the Elven ambassador, ignoring the muttered threats from Grim. She is staying at the inn while negotiating a peace treaty with the Humans. Unfortunately, the human ambassador hasn’t shown up the last few days. She asks that group keep their eyes and ears open and report anything they might hear to her. As a sign of goodwill, she gives each of them an Elven gold coin.
As Remina departs, the council breaks up and Baron Reaver approaches the group. He takes them back into the private dining room. He makes it clear that what he is about to say, he does so in the strictest of confidence. The Elves and Humans are negotiating a peace treaty in Devlan, seen by both as neutral. Unfortunately, Earl Bels Reinhart, the Human ambassador, hasn’t shown up for the talks recently and no one can get any answer out of the Human delegation. So Baron hopes that the party might be able to dig a little deeper and find out what is going on.
The party of three head over to the other inn in the village, simply known as the Alehouse. Outside they find an Elf watching the place closely. She introduces herself as Lorana and is waiting to meet a human with a distinctive face but she knows not his name. As the others have been told that the Earl has a distinctive scar across his face they believe it might be the same person they are looking for. With that, the party of three becomes a party of four and they enter the Alehouse.
The Alehouse has been completely taken over by the human ambassadorial party and the only patrons in the common room are the guards. Striking up a conversation with the captain, the party are told that the Earl is indisposed and will see them as soon as he is able. Lorana overhears a conversation between two guards, however, that implies that the Earl hasn’t been seen for a few days and no one knows where he is.
Realising they aren’t going to get anywhere the party leaves. They are approached by a Little Person. He speaks only to Rinjiminee and tells him that he overheard the Earl asking about the Widows’ Home and sometime later asking for the local healer. That was the last day there was any confirmed sighting of the Earl.
The party head off to find the village Healer, an Elf-Human mix-blood by the name of Veyinamarath. They ask her about the Earl, giving the description they have. She informs them that a heavyset man was in asking for something for Widow Opal but he was trying to disguise himself – his scar had been covered up.
With that information, the party head to the Widows’ Home to speak to Widow Opal. Unfortunately, the old woman won’t speak to the party unless they have some calming scents on them. The group trudge back to the healer’s and obtain some birchwood scents. They manage to avoid paying and have the purchase placed on the village account.
Returning to Widow Opal, they learn that she was visited by two men asking about her husband. Her husband died years ago. He returned from hunting one day talking about a cave system containing a glowing gem, guarded by little devils. No one believed him but the next day, her husband was dead. The party consider that the Earl may have gone off to find that cave system.
The group are returning to the Bull Arms to inform Baron what they have discovered so far when a merchant caravan arrives in the village. They are lead by Finn and Thenn, who are twins. The twins announce to all that they found a dead man and horse on their way to the village. They brought the body with them and upon revealing it, the man is identified as Rymen Shokin, Earl Bels Reinhart’s right-hand man.
As a matter of urgency, Baron Reaver loans the party horses and they ride out heading south-west along the road. Riding at a quick pace, they come across the remains of the dead horse around sunset. A trail of blood is seen heading into the surrounding wilderness. Lorana and Grim, with enhanced night vision, are able to follow the trail and find another dead horse and the Earl. At first, the Earl appears dead, but as the group check him he opens his eyes and whispers “not to trust them” before dying.
As the group head back to the road, they are attacked by Orcs. The fight lasts several minutes but the party come out on top. With renewed haste, they forego camping for the night and make their way back to Devlan, leading the horses on foot. As the skies brighten with dawn they see ahead of them a large column of black smoke rising from the area right around where the village of Devlan would be.