Varros looks to Captain Belloc and says, "I don't know about my companions, but I find your terms of employment fair, however, I think 100 gold each seems a bit more of a respectable number for the job. Maybe you could consider it payment for services rendered,"
Varros fixes his gaze on the trophy bag for a noticeable moment then returns them to the Captain, "also, the ability to borrow decent horses for our company would only allow us to relate your requested information in a more timely matter."
Oloc is relieved that the goblin threat is taken seriously by the Captain. But when the discussion of joining up as scouts comes up the mage frowns slightly. He had been hoping to explore the ruins soon; visions of magic items and long forgotten spellbooks dominating his thoughts. Still, the offer of gold for simple recon work is enticing.
"I agree with Varros, begging your pardon Captain. I think 100 gold and horses would be more equitable. As you can see, we deliver."
Understanding the need to be well compensated Duran lets the others talk. He does chime in saying "Yes Captain horses would be most useful for our endeavors."
Gaven stands back to let the others negotiate terms. He gathers Bill Barley's saddle and ichor-coated dagger from Ollie. The cleric seems willing to take on the mission whatever the terms.
The captain looks at the haggling members of the party. For a second his eyes narrow, then he grins. "Horses would indeed make the task easier. The guard, unfortunately have no horses, except my own and those of my two lieutenants. Certainly not enough to transport your party."
"That being said," he continues, as if reading Oloc's mind, "I understand that this job may take your attention away from more lucrative pursuits. Let us then say 100 gold up front – that's sum total for the company, mind you, not per man.* And I can raise the spotting bounty to 300, if you find the goblins – again, that's 300 for the company as a whole – with the same 50 for the party just for your trouble if the search is unsuccessful."
"I cannot afford to offer you more than this for a reconnaissance. I have too many other contacts who could do the job for less. But I believe you have talents they do not, and I would prefer that you take on the task. For this reason, I offer you far more than I would offer them."**
"And," he adds, looking at Varros and Oloc, "your point about the trophies is well taken. You do indeed deliver, which is why I want your services. I don't pay for trophies, but let us consider them, in this unique case, as a tangible token of the information you gleaned in their collection. And I'll say that information is worth 50 gold, in itself, whether you accept my job offer or not."
"Would these revised terms meet with your...?"
The captain's question is interrupted as the door bursts open. Mrs. Miggins pushes her way past a guard and rushes into the room. Tears of joy stream down her face and she squeals with delight when she wraps Elsie in her arms. Noticing the party for the first time, she cries out "You found her! You found my Elsie! I knew you'd bring my Elsie back to me, I just knew it!"
A few seconds behind, almost as a footnote to the joyous scene of reunion, Bob Barley enters the room and stands quietly near the wall beside the door. He seems to struggle inwardly, trying to swallow the lump in his throat, and stifle tears of a different sort.
*Just a note, the original offer – in each of its sums – was for the party, not per man. Going per man would be something the captain could never afford: 50 each would be 200 total up front just for taking on the job, and if we were talking 250 each just for spotting the goblins (instead of 250 for the group), we'd be looking at another 1000, coming to a total of 1200 gold, just for a recon.
**Remember the going rate for just a merc like Stan is 5 gp/week. You guys are better than that of course – you just have to decide how much better :)
Also, whether or not you choose to accept the captain's offer, you will of course have the opportunity to sell off the gear and other items you found at the farmhouse, visit the temple, purchase any equipment and/or make other expenditures (except potentially those with a time component, depending on your plans), bank any money, etc., once you're done talking to the captain and the two parents.