The party and Gundren Rockseeker rested the night after their encounters at Cragmaw Castle. It was an uneventful night, and they arose the next morning, retrieved their horses, and began the trek back to Phandalin.
As the group approached the Triboar Trail, they noticed 5 orcs with weapons out circled around a dwarf. The orcs appeared to be giving the dwarf some trouble, so the adventurers, a brave and kindhearted lot, decided to help the dwarf and attack the orcs. Erevan was feeling sickly and stayed behind to mind the horses with Gundren who was still recovering from his ordeals with the Cragmaw tribe.
The orcs were somewhat incompetent and definitely outmatched. One dropped his weapon and another fell while attempting to attack Roque. Once the party had taken out 3 of the enemies, one of the remaining two fled, only to have the dwarf fling both axes at him. One axe hit the orc in the leg and the other split his skull.
After the battle, the dwarf introduced himself as Gran, and asked the adventurers to sign his petition. He then informed the group he was headed to Phandalin. As they were all headed in the same direction, they decided to travel together.
Revenge of the Redbrands
The motley crew sauntered into Phandalin along the main road from the north just has they had many days ago when first arriving in the town. This time, however, things seemed different. Rather than people strolling about and kids playing in the streets, this time, the party saw few people out and about. Those who were, clearly were in a hurry to get back to their houses and indoors.
On their way to the Townmaster’s Hall, the adventurers stopped at Barthen’s Provisions to return their borrowed mounts to Elmar Barthen. From him, they learned that the Redbrands have been causing trouble again and seemed to have intensified their harassment of the townsfolk. The thugs had even gone so far as to kidnap Qelline Alderleaf and her son Pip.
A little further up the street, Gundren and Erevan separated from the others to get rooms at the Stonehill Inn. Gundren thanked the party again for rescuing him and told them he hoped they would go on to Wave Echo Cave and get revenge for his capture and torment and find out what has happened to his brothers Nundro and Tharden, as he’d heard that the Black Spider was there.
At the Townmaster’s Hall, Harbin Wester and Sildar confirmed Elmar’s reports. Wester seemed irritated that the adventurers had not yet taken care of the orcs at Wyvern Tor but still pays 50gp to Gran after being handed a string of orc ears. Gran’s petition turned out to be an agreement that Gran would receive the reward for his orc bounties.
Sildar thanked the party for rescuing Gundren and rewarded them 500gp for their efforts. He asked them to follow up and visit Wave Echo Cave. He stressed the importance to the Lord’s Alliance that the Rockseekers reestablish the mine and bring prosperity to the region. Additionally, he encourages the group to deal with the resurgence of the Redbrands. He told them that he gave them 200gp for capturing Glasstaff and that his membership in the Lord’s Alliance empowered him to offer them the same if they could finish off the Redbrands for good.
Breaking and Entering
It was getting late in the day, so the party decided to head to the Inn to get rooms for the night. Upon entering, they recognized a few people within. Toblen Stonehill, the innkeeper once again confirmed that the Redbrands were increasing their nefarious activities and that Qelline and Pip had been taken from their own homes by people in red cloaks, presumably Redbrands.His wife reminded the group that Thel Dendrar’s wife and son had also gone missing shortly after Thel Dendrar was murdered by the Redbrands.
Daran Edermath was also at the Inn. Not knowing where the party had been the last several days, he asked them if they had gone out to Old Owl Well yet to check on the rumors of undead roaming around. When they told him they had not yet done so, he encouraged them to check it out. The party said they would, and asked Daran if the Redbrands were still holed up at the manor on the hill. He said that was likely and suggested that Halia Thornton, owner and operator of the Miner’s Exchange may have stepped up to lead the band of thugs.
The group retired to their rooms with the exception of Mac who transformed into a wolf and took off to reconnoiter the areas around the Tresendar Manor. He wandered around the manor itself and found nothing, then padded around the tunnel entrance in the woods south of the manor. With his enhanced wolf senses, Mac smelled the presence of several people including the party members but nothing unusual except the smell of raw meat. This was explained away by the rest of the party upon his return as something they had taken into the tunnel themselves.
Next, Mac and Dresden went out to see what they could find out about Halia Thornton at the Miner’s Exchange. The doors of the shop were locked, so, lacking thieves’ tools, they decided to break a window and climb in. They were able to do so undetected but found only mining equipment in the shop. Even a back office revealed nothing about Halia. The one thing they did learn was that Halia apparently does not sleep at the shop.
At this point, the party simply decided to rest after their long day of travel and reconnoitering.
Back to the Redbrand Hideout
Late the following morning, the hardy Mac, Dresden, Roque, and Gran set off through the tunnel leading to the area beneath the Tresendar Manor. They entered the familiar cavernous room split by a wide crevasse. Fortunately, they had remembered to bring some meat to feed the strange creature that lived there. When it approached, sending images of feeding, hunger, and figures in red cloaks, Roque promptly tossed the meat to it. As the beast fed, the group worked their way up the western ledge of the crevasse to a short hall off to the northwest of the room.
Down a small set of stairs, at the end of the hall, the group found two doors. Going through the north door, they found a room full of old glassware and books. One of the books was written in dwarvish. Gran was able to read it. He indicated it was nothing important but stashed it away in his pack regardless.
The group left that room with the intention of going through the other door in the hall, but stopped short when Dresden, in the lead, heard noises coming from the other side. Roque commented that it sounded like gambling, and when the party burst into the room, they found that was indeed the case. Four Redbrands were playing a game of knucklebones and had clearly been drinking. They stood up when the adventurers burst in, but the intruders had the jump on the thugs.
Two of the Redbrands were quickly dispatched. Dresden grappled a third and held him while Roque(?) fought the forth to unconsciousness. Gran had a pair of manacles which the party used to restrain the two living Redbrands and attempted to interrogate the conscious one. In an attempt to intimidate the thug, Roque kicked the other Redbrand dealing enough damage to kill him. This had the desired effect, but the thug was unaware of anyone above him who might be in charge, parroting the questions asked him in his inebriated state. When asked about the kidnapped children, however, the Redbrand revealed that the prisoners were being held on the opposite side of the building in a slave pen on the other side of the crevasse. The party decided to take two of the red cloaks and move on, leaving the last living Redbrand behind, shackled to his dead cohort.
There was a door on the other side of the room so the group went through, entering into a short hall again with a door opposite on the south and stairs leading east. Again, before they could enter the next door, they heard voices from other side. No one in the party could understand the deep-voiced, rough language they heard, however. Regardless, they decided to try giving the occupants the bum rush again.
Dresden thrust open the door revealing three confused bugbears and a goblin within. The goblin promptly fainted, and one of the bugbears (wearing a jeweled eye patch) turned to Dresden to ask what was going on. Though Dresden was dressed in a red cloak, the bugbear noticed the dwarf and the dragonborn behind him. This made him suspicious, and Dresden, noticing this left the room so Mac could move in and cast the thunderwave spell. The thunderwave blasted the bugbears, knocking back two of them. Mac then backed out of the room to stand guard at the end of the hall, while Dresden, Roque, and Gran moved in to take out the monsters. They quickly did away with the bugbears but accidentally killed the pitiable goblin in the process.
The adventurers worked their way out of the hall, finding themselves back in the large room, still on the west side of the crevasse. As soon as Dresden stepped foot onto the short wooden bridge leading across, it collapsed, sending him falling 20 feet to the bottom. Fortunately, he sustained only minor injuries. The bottom of the crevasse was quite cold — unnaturally so, and nearby lay the half eaten body of a human male. Also nearby was a kind of cubby hole with a wooden box inside. Dresden pulled out the box which was actually a chest, opened it and found several pieces of silver and electrum along with some gems, potions, a scroll, and a longsword inscribed with the word “Talon”. He didn’t know anything about the sword even though the inscription seemed familiar. Once he made the easy climb to the top of the crevasse, though, Roque recalled a bit of lore about the sword. It once belonged to Sir Aldith Tresendar, namesake of the Tresendar Manor, known also as the Black Hawk.