Elumai - Eladrin Wizard 4
Berend - Dwarven Fighter 4
Corrash - Dragonborn Warlock (Fey-Pact) 4
Romto - Halfling Cleric (of Pelor) 4
Mord - Dwarven Fighter 4
Wrafton's is a throng of drunken activity, mostly centered around the adventurers. As they push through the crowd, people both old and young, stranger and friend, are eager to shake hands and tell them what a good job they've done. Sylvana herself reveals the unsurprising instigator of the celebration: Lord Riva, who instructed her to arrange things and dropped hints about their victory at the Keep.
So it is that Corrash is persuaded to step up and recount tales of their derring-do to an enraptured audience. The dragonborn makes the best of it. There isn't a dry eye in the house as the story of Eilian's brave sacrifice is recounted, and a collection box does the rounds, raising a goodly sum for his widow which is held by Wrafton for later delivery.
Most talk that night settles on either the heroics of the company, or the wrong-doings of Valthrun, who has variously now been blamed for most of the ills that the town has suffered over the last few years. Two drunken fellows acting suspiciously catch Elumai's eye, childishly holding up their hands to shield their faces as they walk by, or pointedly staring at the ceiling whenever her gaze catches theirs. She uncovers their names -- Ettel and Spong -- two brothers notorious in Winterhaven for getting into petty mischief, and engages them in a bit of chatter and a drink, hoping to get to the bottom of things. Unfortunately, although they're undoubtedly hiding something, she fails to elicit the salacious truth.
No such problem for Berend though, who follows them out into the street when they leave and browbeats them into admitting the facts, that they've been spreading malicious gossip to a local bard who passed through before they returned to town. Kidnapping of locals, seduction of town officials, bribery of good and honest townsfolk to speak highly of their exploits... it seems the company have been very busy indeed. They don't have the brain-cells between them to remember the bard's name, but they do recall he rode off on a rather impressive white horse. Berend bangs their heads together and lets them go.
"Spong, perhapsh the firsht thing on our lisht of waysh to avoid them should have been to NOT GO TO THE PUB TONIGHT!" -- Ettel
"Quite right! A toasht to your clevernesh!" -- Spong
It's also at the pub that the party realises that another diminutive fellow seems to have joined their number: Sunrise Song, a cheerful little gnome in the permanent employ of Mord. Despite being regularly put-upon by the dwarf, Sunrise lives up to his name and never loses his cheerful mien, even as his duties extend to draught exclusion in Mord's room that night. Otherwise, he seems adept at two main things: staying out of the way, and carrying several times his own body-weight in books.
The following morning, the party answers a summons to the manor to speak with Riva. En route, they place a couple of orders with Thair Coalstriker to improve their equipment (and to make practical use of the iron chains that Corrash couldn't bear to see left behind at the Keep), although delivery won't be possible for a couple of days. Riva himself is his usual welcoming self, which is more than can be said for Lord Padraig, who stays well out of their way.
Riva informas the party that he will be setting off east at sunrise the following morning, on his way to Emerandes to report to his superiors the information he has been gathering in the wilderness for the last couple of years. When questioned about the party, he admits to setting things in motion, telling them that it will personally do him no harm for tales of their escapades to spread as far and as wide as possible. Finally he leads them to a courtyard at the rear of the mansion, where stand two wagons; the first is an ostenatious carnival affair decked in green, the second is a simple supply wagon on which an oiled cover hides the spoils of Riva's travels. He points the party at one of the piles, "evidence," he says, collected from Valthrun's basement, and says they may choose two items, "as further risk avoidance on the matter of my investment." After much debate, Mord takes possession of a magnificent magical craghammer whose haft is inscribed with a three-clawed slash from some vile beast (Craghammer +2), and Berend takes a suit of plate mail, on the breast plate of which is inscribed the legend, "In Vilifier's Shadow We Walk" (Dwarven Plate Armour +2), for later use.
The following day, Corrash finally succeeds in following-up on the supposed dragon's graveyard uncovered by wandering archaeologist and local laughing-stock, Douven Staul. Tracking the hire of a donkey to Delphina Moongem, soft-spoken keeper of the local stables, she points them in the right direction and after a short journey, the party arrives at the dig site. There they find obvious evidence of a large excavation, now apparently filled in. Several rough-looking humans and a dour-looking halfling watch as two massive dogs on leather leashes whine and paw at the mud, seemingly digging for something. The halfling is none-too-impressed with the arrival of these strangers, citing first-come-first-served salvaging rights over the site, but the company do not interfere as the dogs become increasingly agitated and eventually pull a thin and somewhat wiry-looking dwarf from a hole in the ground.
There follows a tense altercation where the party make it known that this the person they've come looking for, and the ruffians refuse to give him up. The stand-off devolves into a brief and bare-knuckle fight as the adventurers drop several of the men (and their dogs) with bleeding noses to the floor before the hapless mob give up what is obviously a futile fight and hand Douven over.
"No respect for the archaeological method, those fellows! No respect at all!" - Douven Staul.
Douven recounts his own tale, that he arrived at the site of the dragon's graveyard only to find several men, and a hobgoblin or two, already engaged in quite a large-scale excavation, and was quickly captured. When they left, they threw him into the pit and blew the supporting retainers away, burying him alive. Thankfully, one of the wooden walls collapsed in such a way as to create a void from which he had slowly been digging himself out with his trowel. As for what the dig uncovered, he guesses bones, massive, dragon-like bones from an ancient skeleton... although he's forced to admit he doesn't know for sure. He did, however, hear someone's name that may be of use, Saruun Khel, although he's personally never heard of him.
Tracks from the heavy cart are easily picked up, and the party follows them for most of the remaining day north east until they intersect with the King's Road and from there, with no evidence to the contrary, along the road to the east. Travelling back towards town, they encounter Lord Riva's wagon train heading out of Winterhaven. It's an impressive affair, with the two wagons they saw earlier being pulled by massive, sweating work-horses, and several guards dressed in the same purple garb as the two men who guarded Valthrun's tower just after Riva's arrival. The Captain of this caravan is chatty enough, suspicious at first but more open when he realises who these six strangers actually are, but he is forced to report that Lord Riva is unavailable for company at the present time. The party is happy enough with this, and promises to catch up with them the following day.
So it is that they return to Winterhaven for what might be the last time. Picking up their new weapons and armour -- excellent quality, of course -- they purchase a wagon and pony with which to cart their various loot across country, and prepare to head out east...