The party turned their attention to solving the mystery of the stolen Mollari merchandise. Initial investigation in the Elven Market indicated that the likely suspects were either the Sun Spear Tribe or the Swiftwing Tribe, both large and dangerous elven tribes.
Fealdon used his charismatic personality to haggle with the Sun Spear merchant. The merchant helpfully suggested that Fealdon purchase an Urikite vase for the high cost of 15gp. Fealdon recognizes a bribe request when he sees one, so he reluctantly paid the price.
The party learned that the Swiftwings did in fact sell the brand of vase the party was looking for. One of the tribe members, Koram, was involved in the theft somehow. The party cleverly decided to pose as potential buyers interested in purchasing a very large order of stolen vases. Koram greedily agreed to meet them later that night to arrange a deal.
Later that night the party arrived with a Mollari house member, Sherrar, in tow. Sherrar posed as the interested buyer. The party briefly flirted with kidnapping Koram and simply beating the information out of him, but realized that they were in hostile territory and would not have the upper hand. They ended up agreeing to purchase a large order later that week. While there, Honsou used his excellent sense of hearing to pick up on a whispered conversation between Koram and one of his tribesmen. The name “Barca” was heard.
The party checked in at The Dancing Kank, where they met with a friendly and streetwise waitress named Tara. Tara mentioned that she had heard the name Barca before and guessed that they were speaking of Barca Klethira, who had often patronized the bar before, meeting up with a lady companion. The party quickly realized that Barca was the same noble that their friend Durgar/Bal’thier had gone home with the week before!
After checking back in with House Mollari, the party decided to take advantage of their improved relationship with Lon Cotto (and the +7 to history checks he provides) to inquire about Barca. Lon informed the party that House Klethira was one of House Mollari’s bitter rivals in the city, and Barca was a particularly clever and dangerous man to deal with.
The group decided to infiltrate Barca’s residence in the city to try and collect clues that would link him to the Swiftwing raids and the theft of the Mollari goods. They posed as a group of entertainers, calling themselves the Traveling Gleemen. Jataar and Ward performed a series of songs while Fealdon used his wild talent to create a light show that played in time to the music. Honsou dazzled the crowd with feats of strength as he crushed a series of stone slabs with his fists. Of course, Honsou was secretly aided by his friends, who slipped a wedge in between the stone when no one was looking, allowing him to more easily break them. The party’s ruse paid off – they were able to freely observe the gathering in Barca’s house that night, and spotted a familiar face shadily dealing with Barca – Lenier Mollari, the caravan driver they had rescued before. Dun dun dun!
After confronting Lenier back at the Mollari complex, he tearfully confessed that he had been passing the secret trade route information to Barca, who was in turn bribing the Swiftwings to raid the Mollari caravans. Lenier begged the group to spare him, offering them a bribe if they would give him a day’s head start fleeing the city before they informed Reza Mollari. The party refused to take pity on the poor fool, though, dragging him before Reza.
Reza dealt privately with Lenier. He agreed with Fealdon’s logic that House Mollari should buy back the vases from the Swiftwings this last time to recoup some of the losses. He ordered the party to complete the purchase and return with the merchandise. They did so, and after a time he asked them to take the entire shipment and leave it on Barca’s doorstep. The party did as he asked, but curiosity led them to take a look inside the boxes. Inside each of the 100 vases they found a dark red liquid, with chunks of Lenier floating inside.