We managed to talk our way into being allowed to investigate these missing children. The man to talk to was the village blackmith, Paramore. He told us that it was the village baker who had been suffering, that there had been odd noises from their cellar, and that the baker's dog has gone missing too.
We set off to investigate.
Poking around the cellar, we found half a dog. That isn't a good sign. In the underground room we found that the far corners were packed with spider webs. Shooting at the webs with our bows seemed to stir the hiding spiders into life - they crawled out from behind and around the crates to attack us.
We defeated them pretty easy, and we found that the kids had been killed by these spiders. We left this sad and sorry place pretty quickly.
It took us another 3 days to journey back to the keep. As soon as we got there, we made contact with the earl to let him know of our arrival, and while we waited for a reply we sold on the booty from the mansion fight.
We took the books to the sage to see if he wanted to buy them. He didn't have the resources to buy them himself, but he did give us access to a book dealer who could move them on for us. This meant sending the books away - so we chose to trust this guy.
When we finally meet up with the Earl's man, he presents us with a 50 silver coins reward. Splendid.