The funeral takes place at noon and is abnormally brief for a halfling gathering. No body is presented to the mourners.
The party meets at the Tallhearth inn, one of the few buildings in town large enough to be comfortable to humans. The mood in town may be dour but the residents of the inn seem to care very little. A human woman hostess seats you and readies your rooms.
It takes little to notice the eyes watching you. At a glance all seems normal but on closer inspection you see the black lion of house Blackwell on all eight of the other patrons and their eyes are on you as well.
Just then a distraught halfling woman approaches you and introduces herself as London's mother. She enquires on how you knew her son and points out that you were the only non halfling attendees to the funeral.
Tears begin to flow from her as she falls to her knees. She describes the mysterious circumstances of London's death and the uninvestigated loss of his three assistants, one being her other son Tuck. She explains that London's body was returned by a man working for the Blackwell family and came back so beaten and pulverized and that it was difficult to identify.
She asks that you please go to the site he was working on and find out what happened, describing the dig based on London's letters as a ruin of questionable origin in the forest of Ishtar. You prepare to leave in the morning to visit the site she marked on your map.
As she leaves you notice that all other conversation in the tavern has stopped. How much of what you said was overheard is unknown. You decide to retire to a more private room to reveal to each other the items London has sent you;
Alistyre Onyx-Brass - A large vial of jet black water that seems still no matter how much you shake it. If opened, it smells slightly of vanilla and leaves you feeling mildly nauseated. If left open, the liquid attempts to crawl out, but it has not accomplished this yet.
Shalazar the Infernal - Two sections of wood, that look like they may have once been part of a staff. The insignia on the pieces read "-wer are po-" and "-ose wh-" The pieces to not fit together but they are definitely part of the same object.
Brother Rilken Sureclaw - A silver bracelet depicting a spired city and two winged kenku offering sacrifices to a pool of blackness. Around the pool are the words "This and all things belong to Vis. His will protects our shape"
Daellethan Bloomhollow - An encrypted tome of London's research notes dating back to before you met. This is easily his entire life's work. Unfortunately you can't begin to understand it.
Liyal Shu - A silver ring with a blue gemstone. A note attached to the ring warns you not to wear it as it attracts minotaurs.
Illiaph Felspark - A copy of a scroll with an illustration of a black mass welling up beneath a spired city. An inscription in common says: "there is no good, there is no evil, there is only flesh and the forms to which he subjects it. The Founder of Flesh has remade us and we will return the favour. The gods will tremble at his might and he makes life and death into one." Illiaph refuses to show you the original scroll, claiming that your fragile mind couldn't handle it.