Date: Mirtul 5, 1491 DR
That evening the party decided what they were going to do next. They decided that the Town Elders needed investigating, and Minny had given them a clue. After Farideh, Natas and Ulryn’s successful performance in the common room at The Swinging Sword Inn, they all went to The Helm at Highsun tavern to talk with Stannor Thistlehair.
The Helm at Highsun tavern was right across the Long Road from The Swinging Sword Inn. It was a ramshackle two-story building with rusty metal grills covering its small, dirty windows. The tavern’s name was very clearly printed in large, simple letters on both sides of a jutting wooden sign. Atop the sign was a rusting, oversized adornment: a giant warrior’s bucket helm with two eye slits. On closer inspection the helm turned out to be an upside-down washtub.
Inside was a large, dimly lit, wood-paneled taproom. An open-tread wooden staircase climbed to the upper floor, which was just as dim and darkly paneled as the taproom. Across the back of the taproom was a bar with three copper candle-lanterns hanging over it, and a stair leading down to the cellars. It was busy, as it always was. The hum of conversation did not change one bit as the party entered and looked for Stannor, although a few people’s eyes grew wide with curiosity at Ulryn’s mask, Kallista’s horns, and Windypop’s blue skin. A large painting on one wall shows a middle aged man in robes standing next to a suit of armour with a red glow eminating from the helmet where you would normally see a face as well as other gaps in the armour.
“Bet there’s a story behind that painting,” said Natas.
The Helm at Highsun was where locals and visitors relaxed, gossiped, flirted, told jokes and “war stories” of their working days, and get drunk. It was not a place for refined dining. A waitress directed them to Stannor, a middle aged, sour faced halfling drinking alone. He looked suspiciously at Ulryn and Natas when they sat next to him, and a cross between lust and fear when Kallista sat the other side of him, but he shrugged acceptance when they offered him some drinking money. The other party members moved around the tavern, engaging with other patrons, looking for any other relevant information.
Stannor told Ulryn, Natas and Kallista that he was a carpenter who worked at Waelvur’s Wagonworks (area 16 on the map). Natas quickly judged Stannor to be a sneaky and unpleasant fellow, who would be up for a bribe to talk about his employer. After enduring some of his insincere protests about being loyal and needing job security and how dare they question his integrity they found it took 10 gold pieces for him to agree to share what he knew. Stannor told them that he’d seen his boss Ilmeth Waelvur, owner of the business and one of the Town Elders, disappear into a hidden tunnel in the back of the work yard. He had also seen other people sneak in after dark and follow Ilmeth to wherever they go, although everyone else had shown up hooded or masked.
The party met up again and shared information. Natas told the others what Stannor had divulged. Windypop had talked to the owner Garlen Harlathurl, who had drunk a bit too much of his own brew. Garlen was chatty and cynical about nearly everything, but gave no useful information. Esplen had talked to several people but was hampered by half drunk men trying to get to know her too well. Those from out of town mentioned the same story about feeling fearful due to bandits and monsters. Farideh couldn’t get a question in, as most people were fascinated to talk with a dragonborn which were rare enough, let alone one so small. Most had thought her to be a dragonborn youth and asked her endless questions.
They decided this tunnel was worth investigating but they would do it tomorrow night, after a rest and allowing the spellcasters to regain their powers after the battles at the haunted tomb earlier that day.
“Maybe we can find out a bit more about these Town Elders,” suggested Esplen.
“Good idea,” said Natas. “We can split up and go ask them a few questions. We’ll just pose as mercenary adventurers, out for treasure and glory.”
“Which is what we are, really,” laughed Windypop.
“Some of us have missions,” grumbled Esplen. “We’re not here just for our enjoyment. I’d rather be home in Westwood.”
They returned back to their rooms at The Swinging Sword inn.