Soberday, 1844 Rain 6th
As the rowdy bar patrons close in on Rif, Vayol leaps to her defense. He casts Inflict Wounds, killing one of the patrons immediately. Most of the patrons are too drunk to notice that he’s dead. D’Jango vaults over the bar and gathers their equipment from the chest. Tess doesn’t interfere, merely choosing to watch the drama unfold. Rif casts Thunderclap, injuring one of the patrons and also Vayol. D’Jango casts Sleep on the crowd, halving the number of hostiles, and then brings Vayol his shield and mace.
After a couple of rounds of everyone missing, Tess casts Calm Emotions on the room, causing the remaining patrons to lose interest in fighting. She then clears the bar and pulls Rif aside to address her in Elvish. (Vayol, who knows the language, hears Tess encourage Rif to control her power, lest that power control her.) Vayol explains to Rif that he’s pretty sure he knows where her parents are. That’s all she needs to hear to join up. Tess points them to the back door, saying the town guard will be there soon to respond to the report of a death within the city limits.
Rif leads the two halflings to her home to gather supplies and rain gear, as the storm continues. Rif’s parents are wizards, and their Potterstead vacation home is an opulent three-story mansion. She asks the party to be quiet so the servants don’t know they’re there. They make their way to the third floor, where Rif equips herself, and then down to the second floor where Veluar (Rif’s father) has set up his study. D’Jango finds a crude map where a spring has been labeled outside of a cave. Vayol asks if he can have a 100gp pearl (for his Identify spell), which Rif finds in a small chest full of various gems. By the time they’re done, the town guard has mobilized around the Rolling Leaf, and the group barely manages to avoid them and make their way to the east gate.
On the way to the bandit hideout, Rif finds Erathar‘s body. He’d been a friend of the family for so long, but Vayol explains that he had attacked them the previous night. Rif is confused by this. They find two notes on his body, missed in the rush in the night.
Dated Zealday, 1843 Hearths 10th (eight months ago):
Your assistance tracking down the escapees was, as always, much appreciated. Please find enclosed an official recognition of your service to our city. Maybe I can unofficially recognize you this weekend at the glade.
Dated Fastday, 1844 Nets 26th (last week):
My dock contacts tell me our wizards just arrived. I want to know everything they know about the cave. They trust you. Can you bring them to me?
The party follows a trail off the main road to a cave entrance. Two thick wooden doors fill the entrance into what Vayol recognizes as ancient stonework. With Detect Magic, Vayol is immediately aware of powerful magical energy from inside the cave, though the source is well outside the range of his spell. A clear pool of water to the right of the opening (a spring?) signals to D’Jango that his map may prove handy. The doors are elaborately trapped; moving the handles causes hidden crossbows to fire. D’Jango learns this safely at the expense of his Unseen Servant. After careful search, he finds dozens of trap holes and a handle in a small cavity in the stone above the door. Rif, the only one who can reach the handle, cautiously ties a rope to it. The party flanks the doors while D’Jango pulls the rope to turn the handle from a safe distance. The doors swing open.
Inside the cave, there is no light. The group is reluctant to light a torch, as it would reveal their presence to whoever is inside. Only Rif can see in the dark. They use the rope to form a chain of people, with about 10 feet of slack between them. Rif takes the lead into the cave.