Having readied themselves for spending their first night back in Fallcrest, the group decides to wait until the next day to start researching the third lead they had on the location of the
Sorceror’s Philosopher’s Stone and shack up in the Silver Unicorn inn, completely spacing on the whole wardrobe thing they have free lodging in. Luckily, Gamlock‘s personal bank account was separated from the rest of the party’s, so they do have some light, extra funds to use that weren’t completely drained by Solessa. The party learns that Gamlock keeps this personal account to hold for safekeeping any money he acquires in his travels but can’t donate to the temple. It has a reasonable amount of gold, but it’s an incredibly modest amount and, of course, to be used at the dwarf’s discretion. But, it’s something.
Interestingly enough, the old Unicorn seems to be under new management; the previous contact the party had, Marrill, had not worked at the Unicorn for quite some time. It also seems that the legend that has grown around the Heroes of Fallcrest has gotten a bit out of hand, the bards’ tales becoming more boisterous and portraying the heroes as (literally) larger-than-life titans of bravery and justice.
But in actuality, they’re quite ordinary, besides all those special magical powers, and traveling makes them smell just like any other ragtag, racially diverse group of adventurers. So, they all take baths, thankfully, and clean themselves up nicely before they remember that, before they left, there was this mafia of bards that employed someone who had been trash talking the group. Not ones to leave any ends loose, they set up a ruse: Esry would portray herself as an Esry-impersonator, using her lute to sing a brand new tale of how the Heroes of Fallcrest slew a gigantic purple worm with much valor and prejudice and how it was all quite magical and wondrous. This drew a significant amount of attention (and tips), which is precisely what the group wanted: a member of the audience had an angry exchange with the bartender about hiring a “non-Guild-approved” bard to perform. After the tender paid the fee, Daman and Frey followed this irate customer back to the Bard’s Guild of Fallcrest.
Meanwhile, a second attendee, wearing a prominent brown scarf, was visibly judging Esry, but less angrily so. After a while, he, too, stood up and left. In the interest of making sure Daman and Frey would not be ambushed or have their cover blown, Gamlock decides to follow this man. Not one for stealth, the dwarf abandons it altogether and, having piqued the curiosity and paranoia of the man he’d been following, has a brief encounter with him. The man tells Gamlock that he and his friends keep tabs on this neighborhood and know that he’s not from around there and, more interestingly, knows that he has no business there. It results in the man simply telling Gamlock that the dwarf was creeping him out and orders him to get lost, but not before pointing him towards the Guild Hall, and telling him to look for building “with all the stupid flags.” Very suspicious character, all in all.
Eventually, Esry (with Geran, probably) makes her way down to the Bard’s Guild herself, so all the group finds themselves there. The Guild Hall itself is fairly gaudy and under expansion, but it’s an ironic gem of apparent wealth located in a pretty rough, poor neighborhood. In order to get more information, Esry stops into the Guild Hall and inquires about membership. A clerk tells her that there’s a rather steep 10 gold application fee and an evaluation performance, where she would get to meet the person in charge of the guild and, upon successful audition, also get to see a list of others that are members, which would, hopefully, lead to the identification of a certain tiefling who’d been singing some unsavory tales of the fine Heroes.