In Which Two New Adventurers Join in the Search, and a Fight Breaks Out in a Small Town.
Our troupe of guards arrives in the small town of Phanalin with little fanfare. Eager to learn if Jeb and Jacobus have completed their mission, they stop to ask the first person they encounter if they saw the carriage arrive in town. This stranger is none other than Euphemia the tone-deaf, a halfling troubadour applying her trade outside of the towns largest tavern. She discloses that not only has she seen the wagon in town, but the two drivers are staying in the tavern behind her. Heloise, in an act of what can only be taken as vanity, tosses an absurd sum of gold at the small chanteuse in an attempt to hire her as a personal minstrel. Euphemia accepts as much out of curiosity as good business sense.
Confident that the caravan is safe, the group divides to accomplish various errands in town. Baiste slinks off in pursuit of some clandestine ends, while Odo and Heloise seek out a shop to pawn off some of the treasure found in the goblin cave. Odo carries most of the coin, while Heloise holds various baubles of unknown value. The transaction goes smoothly until Odo suggests that they ask the shopkeeper to appraise a small jade frog found among klarg’s possesions. Heloise attempts to conceal to frog, and denies that there ever was a frog in the first place. Odo, having found the treasure in the first place knows otherwise. Heloise continues to deny having the frog, and a heated argument ensues. Heloise tries to walk off with the frog, and in a fit of rage Odo strikes her. At this provocation, Heloise readies a spell to cast in retaliation. As the air crackles with magic, Odo draws his blade. Before a blow is struck, the pair are diverted by an alarming realization. While the two were bickering over a small frog, Odo’s coin-purse had been cut from his belt!
The thief is a gnome named Kip “piffenpoffen” Zippenpoof, who is doing his best to distance himself from his victims. On the street outside the shop, Odo is shouting. A crowd quickly forms, and Odo offers half of the contents of his purse to whosoever finds the item or the perpetrator. With the promise of reward, the whole town is looking for Odo’s bag. Kip, fearing discovery stows the bag behind some stairs. As Odo approaches, Kip shouts that he’s found the bag. Odo, quite unsuspectingly, thanks Kip and promptly pays him half of the purses contents. Kip, who has been surveying these curious strangers since they arrived in town, sees a way to learn more by expanding his deception. He manages to convince Odo that he is also in the employ of Gundren Rockseeker.
The group re-convenes at the inn, now consisting of the surviving guards, Kip, Euphemia, and the two brothers. With Gundren missing in action, they decide to seek the dwarf’s two brothers, his business partners, who are supposed to be camping in the wilderness, perhaps surveying some expedition. The search is fruitless dragging on for days, still worse, the party is held up upon their return to town. A posse of armed men, all wearing the red arm band of the Red Brand Ruffians is waiting to collect a toll. The Ruffians are the closest thing in Phandalin to a government, thriving off of protection money and road “tolls”. When tension escalates between the robbers and the questant guards, Odo challenges the largest of them to a duel for free passage. The ruffians accept, but when one of their number is slain by perceived foul-play, they attack the group. The ruffians are vanquished, with cheering from those townspeople who witnessed the affair.
Though the townsfolk cheer, the party expects that the RBR will not their members deaths go unanswered. Anxious to get out of town, the group decides to seek the folk hero Daren Ettermath <?> for his council on the surrounding area and to possible whereabouts of the Rockseekers.