Upon arriving in the town of Valls, the party decides to see what the town has to offer in the ways of entertainment. They commission Joseph Ford and the militia-men to serve as the caravan security for the first day. He agrees, as long as he and his men are allowed the same courtesy on the following day.
The party begins walking down King’s road in search of a good tavern, when they come across a group of people in mourning. Upon further investigation, the party discovers that a nobleman by the name of Carlin Drannor has recently died.
The party enters a tavern known as The Cranky Tankard and mingles with the patrons a bit. The tavern owner is mildly annoyed by them and his interactions with one member of the party almost escalate to a full-blown hostile confrontation. Through the actions of the party, a crowd begins gathering outside of the tavern. The gnome and the dwarf use this opportunity to delve further into the mystery of the dead nobleman. A contest is born in which people tell stories of the nobleman to win a free mug of mead. Many stories are told (all good) and the dwarf suggests that someone tell a dark secret about the nobleman. At this point, the gnome notices a dark haired man in burlap clothing give a slight smile. When no one has anything dirty to reveal about Carlin, the dark haired man’s smile fades and he shuffles off into the crowd.
The party decides that the information they have gleaned about this mysterious death is important enough to relay to the local sheriff of Valls. They go to the sheriff’s house and reveal the goings-on of the contest, as well as confess interest in aiding the investigation. The sheriff decides to trust them and explains that his investigation has not been going well because of the Damaran mourning custom of locking the family of the departed in their respective family house for one week. Legally he has no evidence to suspect anyone of foul play and therefore cannot break the tradition and interrogate the other family members. The only evidence he has to go on at this point is the body of Carlin Drannor, which is currently being kept in a magically cold shed behind the sheriff’s house.
The party is allowed to inspect the body and it is revealed that Carlin was poisoned using wyvern’s poison, a poison that is quite rare for this particular location. The sheriff explains that the only source of wyvern’s poison would have to have come from a traveling merchant of some sort. At this point the party decides to split up. Three of them go to the manor to try to catch some servants leaving so that they can ask them some questions. The other two decide to seek out the merchant responsible for selling the wyvern poison.
The merchant is found and is convinced to reveal the person to whom he sold the poison. Using a ring of chameleon power, the dwarf changes his appearance to match the description given by the merchant until the merchant is satisfied that he appears close enough to the woman who acquired the wyvern poison. With this new information, the two party members go back to the sheriff and show him the image of the woman. The blond haired lass turns out to be none other than Carlin’s wife. The sheriff says that this is enough information to officially open an investigation and break Damaran custom to interrogate the Drannor household. He says that he will begin the interrogations first thing in the morning, but that the party should continue until then in hopes of shedding more light on the situation.
Meanwhile, the rest of the party is somewhat successful in questioning the servants of the Drannor household. The servants reveal that, prior to his death, Carlin was not his usual self. He had been isolating himself from the rest of the household and would run off in the middle of the night without telling anyone where he was going.
The party sends the rogue to sneak into the Drannor house late that night. He is quite successful in infiltrating the house and shows amazing restraint as he moves quietly through the various rooms of the manor. In his search, he discovers and takes a sample of a small bit of dried vomit in the floorboards of what was obviously the room of the late Carlin Drannor. He also discovers a letter in the possession of the recent widow, which he also deftly pockets before returning with haste to the sheriff’s house. There, it is discovered that the vomit did indeed contain trace amounts of wyvern poison. The letter taken from the wife was deciphered and read:
We can finally be happy together once the brother is out of the picture.
The next morning, three of the party members accompany the sheriff to interrogate the Drannor family. The other two stay behind and relieve Joseph Ford and his men as the caravan guards. The interrogations begin with Salana, the recent widow. When presented with the staggering evidence against her, she confesses to murdering her husband after discovering that he was cheating on her. She also claimed that he was going to harm his brother, Dortil. The interrogations continued with Dortil and it was revealed that he was, in fat, the dark haired man in the burlap clothing from the day before. The burlap clothing was discovered in his armoire. A small inkwell was also found on his writing desk which contained the exact same type of red-brown ink that was used to write the letter. Dortil, after some pressing, admitted to conspiring to kill Carlin for the love of a woman named Trelyn Fedaris, a local courtesan. This led the investigation to the residence of Trelyn where it was revealed, by feline manipulation, that Trelyn had been purposefully playing the brothers against each other out of sheer megalomania.
With the mystery solved, the party rejoined at the caravan and began preparations for departure. Later in the evening, Joseph Ford returned to the caravan feeling quite ill. Upon further inspection, it was discovered that he had been poisoned. The rashemi barbarian immediately suggested foul play at the hands of the halfling stowaways, Flotsam and Jetsam, which peaked Ford’s interest because he had, indeed, been drinking with them earlier that day. The party brought Ford to Father Lorno and cured him of his illness and proceeded to the back of the caravan to search for incriminating evidence among the halflings’ belongings.
The party was successful in distracting the large canine companion of the halflings and began searching their belongings when the halflings approached with weapons drawn, demanding that they cease their unlawful search. When the halflings approached to within 10 feet of the party, the rashemi barbarian attacked one of them with his drawn spear. This initiated a hostile encounter, in which the halflings rendered the barbarian unconscious and then proceeded to retrieve their belongings and retreat from the caravan.