Worn and Bruised after defeating Klarg and his minions, the party collapses in the cavern and recovers with a long night’s rest. They search the cave for treasure and clues about the whereabouts of their dwarven patron Gundren to no avail, only the spoils of a recent raid are evident.
Spoilers below the fold.
Sildar urges them to return to Phandalin to complete their delivery, so they confer and return to the cart. After an uneventful day’s journey they arrive with little fanfare in Phandalin.
They immediately proceed to Barthen’s store to deliver the goods, and have a good conversation with the proprietor. After a brief chat, the party decides that they are thirsty, and in need of a good pub. While Barthen warns them away from The Sleeping Giant as a favorite hangout of the troublesome Redbrands, they are feeling ornery, and Lord is confident that they hold information regarding his missing cousin Gundren.
As they approach the tavern, they notice that the diminutive rogue Isaiah has disappeared from their ranks. They pay little heed, as Isaiah has some history in Phandalin. They confidently swagger into The Sleeping Giant, which promptly draws the attention of some unsavory locals, four members of The Redbrands. One of them takes it upon himself to begin throwing taunts and insults at the adventurers. Never one to back down, Lord responds in turn, throwing insult after insult, offering to spare their lives for information about his cousin. An impasse is quickly reached, and weapons are drawn.
Lord takes the first swing, and promptly fumbles his weapon away. Ashley, Carric, and Biff join the fray, firing arrows wildly, casting ice spells, and swinging swords. In the small quarters, it is difficult for either side to maneuver, but the party begins to gain the upper hand. A ruffian is dropped by Biff, Lord lays a crushing blow across the face of another using a full beer mug, who is then laid to push up the daisies by a cold spell from Carric.
Ashley punctures a keg, and then fells another, and the battle is won. Onlookers include Mostana (Mustang) and Laewyn, who have been working the tavern. Laewyn is playing battle songs on his lute while Mostana is clearing the tables. Lord drops a few coins on the table to cover the damage, and then the party decides to move on, to see into rooms at the Stonehill Inn.
They have several conversations, which indicate a few places of note that they should visit. First, Ashley meets the old farmer Narth. He indicates that Sister Garaele, who can be visted at the shrine, had recently returned to town, wounded and exhausted. They also spoke with the miner Lanar, who has been troubled by nearby orc raids, and suggested that the townmaster might have work for some hearty adventurers willing to take on a challenge. Upon hearing of their recent success against the Redbrands, the innkeeper’s wife Trilena mourned Thel Dendrar, who had been slain by the Redbrands after standing up to them when they were leering at his wife. Shortly thereafter, his wife, daughter, and son disappeared as well. While she was relating this, Pip interrupted bragging that Carp, son of Qelline Alderleaf had found some passage in the woods near the Alderleaf Farm.
Mostana joins the party, having had enough of the Redbrands around here, while Laewyn wanders into a tree-lined clearing to cope with his insecurities around people, especially strangers.
The next morning they arise and enjoy the continental breakfast served by the innkeep’s wife, and then head into town (by crossing the street). First, they visit the Town Hall, where they run into Sildar and meet the Townmaster Harbin Wester, who encourages the party to deal with the Orcs, offering them 100 gp. Sildar offers up 500 gp to find the Cragmaw Castle and defeat or drive off the tribe’s chieftain. He is also concerned about another member of the Lord’s Alliance, Iarno, who went missing during one of his investigations.
They then visit The Shrine of Luck, devoted to Tymora, the godess of luck and good fortune. She is still showing some wounds from her recent visit, which she relays to the party. She had been seeking the banshee Agatha in her lair to the northwest, in search of an answer. She implores the adventurers to seek out Agatha to help her find the mage Bowgentle’s spellbook. She offers the party a jeweled comb believed to have belonged to Agatha, that may warm her heart to them.
Following the Shrine, they wander towards the outskirts of town to visit the Alderleafs’ farm. There they are welcomed by Quelline and her son Carp, who is practically bursting with his desire to share news of the passage by Tresendar Manor, where there has been some Redbrand siting. When they ask about Cragmaw Castle, Qelline pauses, and then shares that her druid friend Reidoth knows the entire area. Unfortunately, he is off doing druidy things in the ruins of Thundertree.
Laewyn is able to track the adventurers in the small town, and looks to find comfort and value. They decide to investigate the secret passage, and ask Carp to guide them. Due to the danger, Qelline declines, but Carp is able to provide decent directions, and the group discovers the passageway.
They follow the passage and wind up at the bottom of a small crevasse, where they find a body. Mostana quickly clambers up the side, and winds up on the eastern side of a pillared chamber with two small bridges spanning the crevasse.