Our heroes were recruited by Vanthus Vanderboren, a minor noble in the city of Sasserine, to help him recover his family's last ship. Vanderboren's parents had recently perished in a fire aboard a newly-purchased boat, and he was desperate to recover a item that has belonged to them. The Blue Nixie was being held by the harbormaster pending payment of dock fees, which Vanderboren claimed to have paid. At night, the group rowed out to the ship and confronted a band of smugglers who had been using the Nixie as a platform for their illegal operations.
With the Nixie back in his possession, Vanderboren recovered a signet ring from the cabin and instructed the group to protect the ship while he ensured the payment was received by the harbormaster, Councilman Keltar Islaran. Vanthus never returned. The next morning, the group was roused by Kora Wistlegap, a halfling employed at the Vanderboren Manor. She demanded the group accompany her to the manor.
In the courtyard, the group found Vanthus' sister, Lavinia Vanderboren, beset by creditors, all claiming Vanthus had borrowed money from them, and all demanding repayment. The group negotiated fair arrangements with all three parties, but Lavinia's position has not much improved.
She invited them inside, where they reported on their dealings with Vanthus. The ring he sought on the Blue Nixie was a key to the family's vault in Castle Teraknian. Vanthus apparently wanted to access the Vanderboren's wealth without asking his sister, even knowing she had a copy of the signet ring. Lavinia immediately took the group with her to the vault.
The vault had been emptied of all material wealth. Some paperwork was discovered that would later prove useful, but for now, Lavinia feared that her brother had fallen afoul of one of his creditors. She begged the group to seek him out, and a search of Sasserine commenced.
Inquires in well-to-do areas revealed more debts owed by Vanthus, and in less-reputable areas they found rumors of Vanthus hanging out with lowlifes, but no one knew anything useful. The next day brought more creditors, lawyers, and authorities to the Vanderboren Estate; word of Vanthus' disappearance had spread, and everyone who had loaned him money sought to collect before there was nothing left to claim. Many pieces of art and trophies from the elder Vanderborens' adventuring days changed hands.
Still, the group's inquires were rewarded when a half-elf named Shefton Rask arrived with news; Vanthus was being held on Parrot Island by someone he owed money to, and he needed help. The group entered a cave through a concealed trapdoor on the rocky island, but once they all were inside, Vanthus stabbed Rask and pushed him through the opening. He taunted the group, then sealed them into the cave by rolling a boulder over the trapdoor.