So here we are, the town of Phandalin. As we’ve collected our reward for delivering the cart with the goods to ‘Barthen’s Provisions’, we were approached by an old man named Sildar Hallwinter, an ambassador from Neverwinter. He asked us how our trip went, which was unexpected, but he quickly explained how he was involved in Gundren’s affairs, and that there’s more to our involvement than we were originally told. We asked him about the dead human we brought with us and he told us how he was Barthen’s apprentice, and to leave the body there, that he’ll take care of it. Right now we deserved some rest, he said, so he got us a room at the local inn. Before we left, though, we also mentioned how we found an empty scroll among the dead horses and he said that it must’ve contained the Wave Echo Caves map. The long lost mines somewhere in the vicinity of Phandelver. Something Gundren was working on discovering.
Phandalin was a nice, quaint little town. A shrine here, a market there… It will do us good to rest here for a bit. As we’ve entered the Stonehill Inn, Sildar told us to go find a table and went to talk to the barkeep. The place was half-empty, yet loud. The source of the noise were four men dressed in red that sat a table away from us. We could not help but overhear them bragging about their mischievous endeavors around the town; robbing, mugging… murdering… The barkeep approached us saying how Sildar arranged everything and offered us today’s meal of the day – a wild boar stew – and drinks. Argetlam actually decided to go straight to bed, but the rest of us were pretty hungry at this point. While we were quietly eating, the thugs got up, made a ruckus throwing their tankards and chairs around, and left the inn. We asked the barkeep who these guys were, as he was cleaning the mess. Very unnerved he told us they were called the Red Brands, a local criminal company, and to leave that subject be. We asked about law enforcement in this town, but he just told us that there’s no such thing in Phandalin and, again, to drop it. We shrugged and finished up our meal, and went upstairs to our room for a good night’s sleep.
I was jolted out of sleep in the middle of the night by a commotion in the room. There by the window, bathed in moonlight, stood our brave Elf Monk covered in blood, Dragar staring him down with his ice-cold gaze. He told us how he woke up a couple of hours earlier, due to his shorter sleep pattern and went about the sleepy town. He ended up wandering around some ruins on the east side of the town and ran into two men dressed in red. No doubt the Red Brands. His immeasurable wit and charisma didn’t shine this time and he took a pretty fair beating, but has managed to deal a couple of decent blows and make a run for it, he said. He also mentioned something about them not having a sense of humor and how he’ll make it his mission for them to get his jokes…? This Red Brand business was now personal. Anyway, I slapped him over the face for being, well, him, told him we’ll talk in the morning, and went back to sleep.
The next morning we continued the discussion. We asked Argetlam if he’d be able to recognize the two guys that attacked him and he confirmed. On the other hand, they’d be able to recognize him, in return, so he quickly fashioned a.. turban(?) out of some sheets, and some sort of shawl to cover his face. While he was busy turning himself into a bedouin, the rest of us went down to get some breakfast. It took a while to get served, so Dragar stepped out to do his daily exercise routine. I followed, standing close to the door and keeping an eye out for those red marauders, and sure enough, they appeared. From a distance, mind you, but still… I signalled to Dragar that they were watching us, so he started doing some highly intricate moves to try and impress and potentially scare them straight. Hope he succeeded… We went back inside to eat and found Sildar sitting at the bar. We asked him about the red bandits and he told us he knows about as much as we do, and to better go and talk to the mayor, Harbin Wester, down at the town hall. Actually he did tell us how their headquarters is over at the Sleeping Giant on the east side (so close to the ruins where Argetlam ran into them…) Sildar was actually there to give us the details on the mission he had us come over for, but we’ve decided we first need to rid this otherwise pleasant little town of these red pests.
There was much left to be desired for at the town hall. The mayor was this frightened, cowardly non-person who wanted to have nothing to do with regards to the Red Brands. “Just leave it be, this doesn’t concern you”, he told us. We tried getting him to give us more information by offering our guild’s services, but he wouldn’t hear a word of it, so we had no other choice but to leave his office. On our way out of the building we were approached by a messenger who told us that a certain Halia Thornton is asking for our presence down at her offices at “Mime’s Exchange” regarding our little investigation. This could’ve been a trap, sure, but we had no other leads so we headed towards her office just down the road.
After a very brief talk with Halia it became more than obvious that she’s the one running this town, not the timid mayor. She was doing business and trading left and right and she would give us “what ever we wanted” in return for ridding Phandalin of Red Brands (which were, no doubt, bad for business). Of course, some of us went all out with the requests: Dragar being a lawful good sort of dragon, refused any reward, and I simply asked for Phandalin to be a “friend town” to the Platinum Dragon Guild. On the other hand, Argetlam asked for an assortment of jewels and Tarian asked for… a statue in his appearance. Your older bro’s starting to really rub off on you, huh? In any case, we found out some really useful information from Halia; that ruin east from the Sleeping Giant (where Argetlam was doing his stand-up bit) was owned by some guy Marques (we’ll need to look into him), and the leader of the Red Brands a guy simply known as Glasstaff, and they’re supposedly involved with the Craigmouth goblins (the ones we’ve exterminated in that cave). We were also to find a halfling called Quelline Alderleaf, one of the town elders who should know more about the ruins. Right now she can be found back at the tavern, celebrating one of her many kids’ birthday.
We got back to the tavern, and it was quite a sight. A dozen or so halflings were sitting around two joined tables, eating, drinking, laughing… having a jolly good time. We approached Quelline, introduced ourselves and told her we were sent by Halia. She, of course, didn’t want to talk just now, but she invited all of us to join the party and continue the conversation afterwards. It was quite fun. We did some light tricks to entertain the kids, like Dragar freezing a couple of tankards, and myself doing a minor illusion in a form of a bunny running across the table, while Tarian was playing his flute for the birthday boy. After the party was over all of us went to their house to discuss the ruins. Quelline told us how a long time ago the dwarves and gnomes were working in the Wind Echo mines, digging up iron and ore, but the caves are now long abandoned and their location is mostly unknown. However, that ruin owned by Marques might be connected to the mines and apparently there’s a secret entrance just around the hill, eastbound. Milo Alderleaf, her eldest, would show us exactly where, so we gave our thanks for the hospitality and were on our way.
Milo brought us to the entrance hidden behind some bushes, just off the road. We thanked him for his help and he scuttered back home while there was still daylight. We entered the cave and passed through a tunnel leading up to a large open space lit with torches along the walls (which was very helpful for Dragar), and a couple of bridges across the rift that ran the length of the area. As we were walking along the rift towards an opening on the other end, literally out of nowhere we heard a voice coming from… everywhere at once? It was as if it was projected directly into our minds. “I can seee youuu…” it whispered. We suddenly saw this big one-eyed creature staring at us from the edge of the rift, grinning widely. I was just about to ask it what it wants, when I saw Dragar lurch towards him waving his flail. He hit it right across the head and the beast started fighting back, trying to claw his eyes out. Argetlam started showering it with arrows, while Tarian threw his dagger at it, sticking it in its skull. I casted a couple of well-directed Rays of Frost and soon enough the creature fell back into the rift just before Tarian managed to take his dagger out of its skull. Luckily I managed to get it back for him using Mage Hand. We crossed one of the bridges and headed towards the far end of the area. There we found some boxes and sacks lying around, filled with food and other provisions that the bandits procured by, no doubt, less than legitimate means. We turned the right corner and saw a door at the end of a short walkway. We opened the door and were met by three skeletons in a smallish chamber. We managed to use the door as a barricade, held by Dragar, so taught by past experiences he, again, brought an oil flask, which he tossed right in between the skeletons and followed with a lantern. The skeletons burst in flames which, again, made it much easier to take them out. Argetlam, of course, had another luminous idea… He pulled one of his locks from his pocket and leaped towards one of the remaining skeletons to try and lock its arm to its ribcage. (Un)fortunately, Dragar finished him off with a swift blow to the head before Argetlam got to act upon his ludicrous shenanigans. All that commotion alerted a couple of bandits who appeared on the doorstep just to the left of us. There were three of them and Argetlam recognized one of them from his encounter yesterday. I quickly cast Sleep on them, but only one succumbed. Dragar pinned the left one to the floor while Argetlam started beating his guy to a pulp, all the while telling him a bunch of “hilarious” jokes and yelling at him to laugh. I approached the sleeping guy and put my foot and a dagger against his neck, just in case he wakes up. We found that this other chamber was a brig of sorts, with holding cells on both sides. The left one was empty but a rotting corpse on the floor, but the right one housed a very frightened mother and her two children. I searched the sleeping guy for a key while Argetlam ended up beating his audience to death. We stripped the remaining two Red Brands of all their belongings, locked them in the left cell and interrogated them for a bit, finding out that there are approximately twenty of them active in the area. Dragar approached the other cell and unlocked it, but the three of them were even more petrified by the sight of his towering presence. I tried to ease them up a bit saying they have nothing to fear from our dragon friend, which helped a bit. We told them how we’re there to help get rid of the Red Brands for good and we escorted them out of the cave. We wanted to get back inside and continue searching the rest of the cave, but they pleaded with us to escort them back to the town. It was already getting dark, meaning the remaining bandits will soon be back at their lair, so we agreed and decided to come back tomorrow and finish what we started.
End of Elthanias’ adventure log.