Posing as coal merchants, the party presented themselves at the Merchant’s Guild and learned that Florian had sold coal to the guardhouse, Marcel Gerber (an influential town elder), and to the Thunderwater Inn. From their investigation, they concluded that Florian sold the entirety of his coal in equal measure to the three aforementioned customers. Having sold all of his coal it is suspicious that he did not close accounts with the Merchant’s Guild if he did leave Stromdorf. Nicodemus met with Marcel Gerber and, having made the proper social introductions, was able to use his privilege to garner a meeting with Captain Kessler. Kessler was surprised to hear of Florian’s disappearance and assured Nicodemus that he would put some of his best men on the case to investigate what happened to him.
Kaerlan investigated the back of Town Hall and saw a lone light shining through a grimy window on the upper floor. Scaling the wall, Kaerlan was able to peer in and see, from behind, a man slumped in a plush chair at a desk drinking wine and gazing at a portrait of a young woman. Kaerlan attempted to open the window to gain ingress to the room but the window fell out of the frame and shattered. Kaerlan dropped quickly to the street and dove in behind some trash bins where he encountered Waltrout who was overjoyed to see him. The inhabitant of the room was at the window shouting and, thinking quickly, Kaerlan shoved Waltrout into the street. The man at the window told Waltrout to go away and proceeded to board up the broken window in slap-dash fashion. Waltrout informed Kaerlan that the man in the window was indeed Burgomeister Philip Adler.
When the party reconvened at the Thunderwater Inn, they learned that the woman in the picture was Madriga Brenner, the deceased wife of Sebastien Brenner (owner/proprietor of The Thunderwater Inn & Brewery). They learned from Friedrich Brenner (Sebastien’s 20 year-old son) that Madriga was Sebastien’s second wife and that she died by drowning in the well in town square. Madriga was beloved by all and is sorely missed by her family. Kaerlan went to speak to Waltrout to learn if he had seen anything happen at the well the day Madriga drowned. While Waltrout did not see anything he did find a letter by the edge of the well. Kaerlan brought this back to Nicodemus and the letter was full of passionately-written prose to Philip Adler saying that she longed for his company but feared her husband’s suspicions and cautioned Adler that they should be even more careful in making rendezvous. While the official story is that Madriga threw herself in the well the letter did not suggest someone who was at a point of despair.
Nicodemus made his way to The Stewpot Inn and was graciously greeted by Keila Cobblepot who served him a delicious dinner and was very excited to have an overnight guest renting one of the private rooms. While in the Stewpot, Nicodemus made the acquaintance of Eduardo Castillo Rodrigues, a flamboyant Estalian. While his clothes suggest a more affluent past, Rodrigues is little more than a vagrant who exchanges tall tales for coin and uses whatever he can scrape together to blur memories of a lost love. By enduring Rodrigues’ demeanor and slightly plying him with beer, Nicodemus was able to learn that Rodrigues did meet Florian Wechsler while he stayed at the Stewpot. Furthermore, Rodrigues claimed that he saw Florian’s two bodyguards leave early the next morning. Rodrigues did not see Wechsler leave with them that morning but he did remember a cart going by at around midnight. Finishing his beer, Nicodemus then retired for the evening. While preparing to retire, Nicodemus felt extremely heavy-headed and passed out. The next thing Nicodemus felt was the back of his head hitting wooden planks, realizing that both his hands and feet were bound. He saw a disheveled, grimy face briefly before an oil-treated canvas was thrown over him and he could deduce that he was in a cart that was beginning to move.