The Maker finally smiled on us! We found Lord Anwer Dace without difficulty. In fact we rescued him from a swarm of deepstalkers (ugly creatures that appear to be a cross between a naked bird and an earthworm, only larger and much more dangerous). He was happy for our assistance with the swarm, and even more grateful when I showed him the promissory note. He thanked me for saving his House from the disgrace of supporting a liar and a cheat. Not only did that part of our expedition go smoothly, but we found plenty of items that we were able to sell in the marketplace. I had the others take foodstuffs and other supplies out to the members of our group camped outside, while I met with Prince Bhelen.
Bhelen is, without a doubt, the smoothest talking snake I have ever had the misfortune to meet. I suspected that the promissory notes were forgeries - now I am certain of it. I believe Bhelen would stoop to any depths to achieve his goals. That said, he has a vision for Orzammar that includes increased trade with the surface, retaking the thaigs lost to the darkspawn, and relaxing caste restrictions to the extent that those who prove meritorious have a chance to move up. He strikes me as strong enough and determined enough to make these things come about. I wouldn't trust him behind me for two seconds, but I believe he is what Orzammar needs for the future. He has also sworn to uphold the treaty to assist the Grey Wardens as soon as he ascends the throne, and I am willing to accept his word because regaining the lost thaigs depends on ending the Blight.
As soon as I made the decision in his favor, I asked how I might assist him in achieving the election to king. He tasked me to end a crime wave going on in the poor part of Orzammar, known as Dust Town, that has been spilling over into the marketplace and the Diamond Quarter where the nobility dwell. There is a gang that has been running a protection racket, requiring merchants and citizens to pay to prevent 'accidents' from happening to them, and they are becoming overbold in their efforts. Bhelen felt that taking credit for stopping the carta's depredations will shift support to his cause. I have agreed to investigate the situation to see what can be done.
I mentioned that we were resupplied thanks to our trip into the Deep Roads. Well, I had enough left over to purchase some gifts for my people. I got the book that had Wynne so engrossed, along with some wine that she mentioned having a taste for. I found a lovely silver locket for Morrigan. I also picked up a small bar of silver for Zevran, a picture for Sten, some shoes for Leliana, and the ebony statuette that Alistair liked so well. I have prevailed upon Bhelen's steward to hold these things for me until I return from Dust Town. I quite look forward to surprising my compatriots with these little tokens once we return to the surface.
I trust that I am doing the right thing here. If I have chosen wrongly, my decision will hurt more people than I can easily bear. Pray for me.