Lost Mines of Phandelver

Thundertree
Exploring the town

On reaching Thundertree, the Talons took the main road into the town from the south, clearing overgrown forest as they went. Tying Greg’k up at the village limits before beginning their exploration of the ruined houses.

It soon became apparent that Thundertree was, whilst no longer home to it’s human population, not entirely abandoned. Twig blights emerged, twisted perversions of nature that attack seemingly at random and without fear. They fell swiftly to the blades of the three adventurers, but continued to hassle the party as they made their investigations.

One of the prisoners at the Tresenda Manor had previously given Tarlach Malthar directions to the old alchemist’s store, and a valuable necklace left there. The Talons decided to search for the building, in the process coming across a rather better maintained building with roof still attached. The door was barred, and after closer inspection the property was clearly still inhabited, by the elderly druid Reidoth. Reidoth agreed to aid the party with their owlbear problem, on condition that they helped remove the dragon Venomfang who had taken up refuge in an abandoned tower to the north of Thundertree. The Talons resolved to search the old alchemy store first, before confronting the dragon, a consderably more dangerous task.

Rather ominously, the old alchemist’s store was covered in giant webs, and entering the store was an unnerving prospect for Adaven, who’s arachnaphobia quickly surfaced. Rather predictably, two giant spiders appeared as soon as the web was breached, scuttling to attack. The fight was quick and fierce, with Tarlach Malthar taking a bite to the face, and falling victim to the spider venom. The remaining Talons dispatched the spider, and dragged Tarlach Malthar’s inert body back to the druid’s hovel. Reidoth applied his medical knowledge to the paralyzed adventurer, advising a night’s rest for the fallen Talon.

After a considerable rest, and dicussion with Reidoth about the various threats in Thundertree (ash zombies, twig blights, the dragon Venomfang and a strange band of cultists). With Tarlach Malthar back in the game, the Talons pressed on through the town, straying dangerously near the tower. The heavy beating of wings and a deep rumbling voice could be heard, enticing the heroes in with offers of an alliance. The Talons agreed that the tower bared exploring, and the dragon would have to be confronted, perhaps it could be convinced to leave. They turned and headed up the main path to the ruined tower, and the confrontation with Venomfang himself.

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The Journey to Thundertree
By way of Helm's Hold

The Journey to Thundertree proving uneventful, but with night closing in, the talons noted a track guarded by Neverwinter guards, on questioning said guards it was discovered that the citadel formerly manned by watchers in the service of Helm – Helm’s Hold – was being used to house those afflicted by the effects of the spell-plague. The heroes decided the citadel would be a safer place to rest for the night than the bandit-ridden roads, and made haste down the trail towards the gate.

Strangeley the citadel seemed rather well guarded, with all manner of mercenaries posted on the walls, with a strong focus on keeping the afflicted in rather than keeping travellers out. On questioning the town authorities it was discovered that a gifted individual known only as The Prophet had been making bold predictions of the future, telling the fortunes of visitors and suchlike. The authorities seemed to consist mostly of minor members of the Lord’s Alliance, in service to Lord Neverember, and were clearly struggling to maintain control of a large population of damaged and deformed inmates.

The Talons made their way to the cathedral to talk to the Prophet herself, but were accosted along the way by a group of unfortunate inmates who seemed convinced the Talons were devil worshippers. Adaven and Tarlach Malthar were reluctant to use lethal force on the poor fools, but Grey showed no such restraint and the deformed beggars were put down swiftly.

On meeting the clergy of Helm who remained, Tarlach Malthar began to get a sense something was badly wrong. The Gold Dwarf priest who met them seemed to have taken the death of his own god badly, and was putting blind faith in a prophet who professed no divine intervention and seemed to offer only conjecture and speculation to those petitioning her. Skeptical, they Talons agreed to meet the prophet.

When the Prophet finally appeared, her beauty was clear to see, she radiated a charismatic aura, putting those around her at ease and soothing their worries. Adaven and Tarlach Malthar were suspicious, and Adaven took it upon himself to investigate the depths of the citadel while most of its forces were distracted. Sneaking off with the aid of an invisibility spell, he scoured the cells below, disturbed by the poor condition of the facilities and the lack of compassion shown to the inmates contained within. He had some difficulty navigating the maze of cells and pits, but eventually stumbled upon a great door emblazoned with a red palm, much like the symbol of Helm. Guarding the door was a colossal humanoid, covered in tattoos and clearly not Human in nature. At this point Adaven decided to return to the main hall, conscious that his spells would soon run out. Unfortunately his wild magic fired off, frying some unfortunate inmates with magical lightning and alerting the colossal guard. A tense flight through the bowels of Helm’s Hold ensued, but eventually he managed to escape the darkness and return to the cathedral above.

Meanwhile, Tarlach Malthar had confronted the Prophet, subtly trying to unsettle her and out her as a fraud. Infuriatingly she held herself together, using her silver tongue to sway the crowd as Tarlach Malthar became increasingly frustrated. Still, the Talons had a lingering feeling that something ill was afoot, deciding to move on as soon as they had rested the night, but feeling that a return visit may be required to get to the bottom of the strange goings-on in Helm’s Hold.

When morning arrived, the Talons swiftly packed up and left by the north gate, heading on a direct route through an old forest track, in the hope it would be quieter and a faster journey to Thundertree. On the way, they came across an old set of tombs just outside the walls of the citadel. While inspecting the ruins, they were accosted by a set of cultists, most likely devil worshippers. Whilst the cultists were swiftly dealt with, finding them so close to the walls of the citadel could be no coincidence, especially with the strange goings on within the walls. The Talons resolve to return to Helm’s Hold once their business with Gundren Rockseeker was reinforced.

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Day 14 Part 2
The journey continues...

The Talons head back to Phandalin by way of Old Owl Well, stopping off to tell Hamun Kost the name of the wizard who constructed the shattered tower. He’s very grateful, and offers to teach Grey how to attune himself properly to his magic longsword, Talon. It turns out that the ancestral blade of the Tresendars can morph into a falcon once per day, which can then be sent off to scout the immediate area.

The group says their goodbyes to Kost, even Adaven, who pretends to be a traveller that the Talons rescued on the road. The Red WIzard and the Talons part on surprisingly good terms.

Partway through the journey home, the group is accosted by an angry owlbear on the hunt for prey. It tears into Grey, ripping chunks of flesh from his chest. Adaven summons magic to blast the monster, and wounds it gravely. Unfortunately his magic backfires once more, and he’s briefly sent screaming to another dimension comprised entirely of open sky. He falls, screaming, for a few seconds, then reappears in the group’s cart. Tarlach and the wounded Grey finish off the owlbear.

In a cave just off the road, the Talons find a nest with three tiny owlbear cubs inside. Ina moment of sentimentality, Tarlach decides to take them back to the manor house, and find a home for them somewhere. He reminds the group of the druid that apparently lives in Thundertree, who may know what to do with them. Grey and Adaven think this plan is unwise, but reluctantly agree.

The group then travels back home to Phandalin, where the town is gearing up for an election. It’s between quivering mound of gout Harbin Wester and the decent, if a bit stuffy, Sildar Hallwinter. Swayed by his Zhent connections, Grey half-halfheartedly throws a hundred gold coins or so at the Wester campaign, while Adaven sees himself as something of a campaign organiser for Hallwinter. The half-elf advises his Lords Alliance friend to bring in a force of town guard, armour polished and provisions in hand, to impress the Phandalin locals. The donated supplies will sway more than a few votes.

Tarlach meets with former adventurer Daran Edermath, who is impressed with the bard’s tales of dispersing the undead at Old Owl Well. Edermath offers Tarlach a position in the Order of the Gauntlet, a zealous force of paladins and warriors dedicated to defending the Realms against all manner of threats. Tarlach, eager for that kind of glory, accepts.

The owlbear cubs are dropped off at Tresendar Manor, where the group’s loyal goblin manservant Droop has been busy baking unspeakably awful cakes and performing inadvisable experiments with an alchemy set. The Talons lock the owlbear cubs in a manor’s cells, and task Droop with feeding them while they search for someone to take care of them.

Finally, the Talons pick up the bounty for the defeated orcs, refill their supplies and set out for the ruins of Thundertree, where they will seek out the heirloom necklace that the rescued nobles from Tresendar Manor told them was hidden in an old storeroom, and the druid Reidoth, who may be able to both help them get to Cragmaw Castle and deal with their owlbear problem.

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Day 14 Part 1
The Witch in the Woods

The Talons of Tresendar head North, past Conyberry and into Neverwinter Wood. They travel along a dirt path, deeper and deeper, until the birds cease their signing and the air grows cold and still.

Eventually the party comes across a small hut crafted from twisted vines and branches. There is almost no sound at all, no animals sing, chirrup or cry. At the foot of the foreboding structure is a small hole, barely big enough for the group to squeeze through.

Adaven heads inside first, followed by Grey and Tarlach. Inside, the hut is filled to the brim with trinkets and charms, all of rustic and generally inexpensive nature. It’s clear that the folk who pay homage to the creature that lives here are, or were, locals. Farmers, labourers and the like. Scattered around the inside of the building are several shattered mirrors, and a lit brazier stands in the centre.

Suddenly the air grows even colder, and a mournful wailing sound fills the room. The WItch of Conyberry appears in all her glory, a spectral elf maiden, eyes blazing with baleful green fire. “Who would seek audience with me?”, she hisses.

The characters try to keep from stammering, knowing that this creature, a banshee, could kill them with a single shriek. Adaven and Tarlach humbly beg her aid, seemingly winning her over with their fawning praise. They secure the name of the wizard who built the tower of Old Owl Well for Hamun Kost, and the location of the spellbook desired by the elven priestess of Tymora, Sister Garaele, back in Phandalin.

Grey stumbles forward, not used to soft words and diplomatic niceties. His gruff demands that the banshee tell us the location of Cragmaw Castle anger the mistress of the forest, and she hisses in rage. Fumbling in his pack, however, Grey digs out a fine elven comb given to us by the priestess of Tymora. The banshee is almost instantly calmed, and starts to coo at the beauty of the item we have presented her. She eyes Grey with distaste, but agrees to give him the answer he seeks. At last we know where to find the Cragmaw tribe, and possibly even poor Gundren Rockseeker.

The banshee smiles sweetly yet dangerously at Tarlach and Adaven, and tells them to spread word of her presence; she would very much like to speak to any elf-folk, and would appreciate it if we pointed any elves her way. The Talons nod, smile politely, and scramble out of the hut as fast as possible, leaving the Witch of the Woods to her lonely vigil.

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Day 13 Part 2
Why'd it have to be snakes?

The Talons make their way back to the Red Wizard Hamun Kost, who is grateful for the party’s removal of those pesky orc troublemakers from the area. The group settles down to rest outside his tent for the night, Adaven well out of sight. When night falls, however, the half-elf rogue decides to take a closer look at just what Kost is up to.

Magically disguising himself as one of Kost’s zombie minions, Adaven sneaks into the wizard’s camp and clambers down the well that the undead servants have been busy dredging. He shimmies down a thirty foot rope, finding at the bottom a deep pool of water and a square chamber. Floating on the surface are three torn and shredded straw dummies, which fill Adaven with a sense of deep unease. Something’s in here with him.

Striking from the pool of water with terrifying speed, a giant snake sinks its fangs into Adaven’s leg. As the half-elf shrieks in pain, the snake begins to coil itself around him. Adaven tries to cast a spell at the monstrous creature. This would be a terrible time for his chaotic wild magic to cause some kind of horrible accident.

A few hundred feet away,Grey and Tarlach see a gigantic plume of fire and steam roar out from the top of the well. They look at each other for a moment, then scramble forward, drawing their weapons.

Adaven and the snake are lightly boiled by the half-elf’s impromptu fireball, but luckily for both it’s not quite as devastating when fired underwater. It does shock the snake into releasing Adaven from its coils, however, and the rogue makes a hasty beeline for the well’s bucket and rope. Grey reaches the well just as Kost comes stumbling, bleary-eyed out of his tent, demanding to know what in the Seven Hells is going on.

Leaving Tarlach to explain, Grey begins to climb down into the darkness of the well. At the bottom, Adaven dodges a couple of strikes from the giant snake, but cracks his head on the side of the well and falls unconscious. Grey manages to each him in the nick of time, fending off the snake with his longsword while he hauls Adaven up over his shoulder.

Up above, Tarlach manages to convince Kost that a zombie must have fallen down the well and triggered some kind of trap. Kost is dubious of that, but believes that Tarlach has no idea what’s going on. The Red Wizard orders his zombies to grab the rope and pull Grey up from the well. This is not an easy task given the dragonborn’s armoured bulk, and Grey has to fend off the leaping strikes of the giant snake for some time, before Tarlach has the bright idea of tying Greg’k the rothe to the well rope. Grey is yanked upwards, toppling out of the top of the well with a thankfully still zombie-disguised Adaven in tow.

For whatever reason, possibly because it’s about half four in the morning and he’s both knackered and annoyed, Kost doesn’t spot anything amiss about the rogue’s magical disguise. He shrugs and says there must have been some kind of trap or ward in the well that the zombie triggered when it fell in. Apparently (and fortunately) his undead servants have a tendency towards falling over, so Kost doesn’t seem too surprised that one could have toppled into the well. Grey surreptitiously pours a potion down Adaven’s throat while Tarlach distracts the wizard with awkward small talk.

Adaven manages to keep his cool as he’s yanked back into consciousness, and does a passable impression of a zombie as he mixes in with the crowd of unseen servants. Kost grumbles and heads off to bed.

In the morning the Talons (Adaven hiding in his now customary spot under the wagon’s driving step) say their goodbyes. They quite like Kost, who doesn’t seem a bad sort for a necromancer. He also doesn’t seem to have noticed that Adaven’s nicked his precious Netherese ring, so as far as the group’s concerned everything’s gravy. Who cares what the guy is up to? He’s welcome to both the well and the giant snake.

Rested, the Talons head off to chat with a banshee.

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Day 13 Part 1
Back to Old Owl Well

After the escapade with the werewolves, it was decided that Conyberry and Agatha could wait, it would be more prudent to try something a little safer. It was agreed that the Talons would spend the next day or two investigating a possible undead threat at Old Owl Well. The Talons then made their way through the mountain foothills to the deserted ruins surrounding the well itself.

Before entering the ruins of Old Owl Well, Adaven snuck off, intending to scout the perimeter and report back on any activity. Grey and Tarlach Malthar explored the ruins, quickly coming under attack from a group of zombies. The fight was brief, interrupted by a rather confused looking Red Wizard, who quickly had his zombies stand down. After a lengthy discussion, it was discovered that the wizard, named Hamun Kost, in question was undertaking some amateur archaeology and wished to know the name of the artisan who created the ruined tower at Old Owl Well.

The Red Wizard agreed to aid the Talons in identifying the magical sword obtained from the manor house, provided that they cleared a group of Orcs from south of the well. Coincidentally Grey had also obtained a bounty that wanted the very same orcs removed from their encampment. Hamun Kost also requested that we petition Agatha for the name of the architecht of the crumbling tower at Old Owl Well, should we find her shack north of Conyberry.

Meanwhile, Adaven was unable to curtail his penchant for theft, and broke in to the Hamun’s tent, relieving him of a bag of gold coins and a particularly expensive looking ring. He then circled back round as the conversation died down and rejoined the wagon without being seen by the red wizard.

After getting some rest, the party headed south to deal with the orc threat. Along the way they were briefly accosted by a band of hobgoblins, who were carrying a wanted poster bearing the likeness of Tarlach Malthar. Tarlach Malthar shrugged off the event with a characteristic show of bravery and machismo, putting it down to a minor lord he had irritated back in the Dalelands. Grey was largely unconcerned by this turn of events, reasoning that any opportunity to cleave goblinoids in twain was not to be sniffed at.

On reaching the Tor the orcs were rumoured to be using as a staging point for their raids, the Talons spent a couple of hours searching for signs of the enemy, eventually stumbling upon the orc base, nestled in a cave at the bottom of a valley. Adaven used his magical talent to disguise himself as an orc, and proceeded towards the lone sentry guarding the cave. Managing to pass himself off as a local orc who’s clan had been eliminated or fractured, he passed into the cave with the sentry, leaving his allies to take up positions outside.

Needless to say the disguise lasted no more than a few seconds, as the leader of the orcish band was able to see through Adaven’s deception, and launch an attack on the Talons, summoning a large creature known only as Gog. The ensuing fight was short but furious, with the aforementioned Gog turning out to be a very angry ogre. Grey was fortunate enough to make short work of the hulking monster, and the orcs fell in short order. On inspection it appeared the orcs carried the emblem of the orcish hold of Many Arrows, although the group knew little of this particular kingdom.

Collecting the orcish insignia as evidence of their extermination, the Talons decided to rest the night, being interrupted by a returning group of orcs, as well as a flight of sturges. Needless to say the rest was fractured, and it was a tired group that left a day or two later, on the dusty road to Old Owl Well.

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Day 12
Everything goes a bit Hammer Horror.

The Talons return to Phandalin triumphantly, the recovered goods from Klarg‘s cave in tow. A deal is struck with the Lionshield Coster; they will maintain and repair the group’s equipment in return for their lost property.

All business in town done for the moment, the heroes hit the road once more. They’re heading east to Wyvern Tor and Old Owl Well, but they intend to also pay the witch of Conyberry a visit.

The Talons’ journey is relatively quiet, and they reach the small, run-down and largely abandoned village of Conyberry in around a day and a half. A few shifty-eyed villagers apparently remain, peering at them suspiciously as they enter the town square, where another group of travelers is setting up a stall. They’re a family group of traders, and the Talons suggest they stay in Conyberry a day or two, and travel back to Phandalin together – giving the merchant family some protection on the dangerous roads. They agree to this proposal.

A man steps forward, claiming to be Conyberry’s townmaster. He doesn’t seem particularly welcoming, but grudingly allows us to stay the night. He asks us to keep to ourselves. Adaven immediately goes exploring, gazing up at several bizarre earthmotes – floating islands of packed earth and broken ruins suspended above the land by some strange magic – which surround Conyberry.

Evening passes into night, and the group bed down in an empty house near their cart. Tarlach is on watch when he hears a snuffling sound outside. A few minutes later and a scream rings out somewhere in the darkness. The Talons wake, bleary-eyed, and go out to investigate. Grey secures the cart, while Adaven and Tarlach check on the travelling merchant family. Just as Tarlach is about to open the door to their caravan, the townmaster appears behind them and growls, telling them to ignore the caravan and go back to their camp.

Tarlach swings the door open, and a tide of blood and gore flows out. The little that’s left of the family remains within. The townmaster begins to twitch and hiss, and the Talons watch in horrified fascination as his body reshapes itself into the form of a towering, humanoid wolf. It begins to howl.

“Werewolf!”, Tarlach points out unnecessarily, and grabs the components for a spell. The beast’s howls turn into a hacking laugh, and it collapses to the ground, rocking with laughter. Adaven skips over and thrusts his dagger into its head, but the wound seems to close up as soon as the blade is removed. Tarlach shouts for Grey, and Adaven spots figures moving far-off in the darkness.

Grey charges forward, drawing the wondrous longsword Talon. He thrusts it into the werewolf’s back. The creature howls in pain this time, and shakes off Tarlach’s spell. Tarlach and Adaven respond by grabbing its legs and knocking it to the floor once more, where Grey manages to hack it into pieces with his silvered magic weapon.

Another hulking beast leaps onto a roof a few metres from the Talons. The heroes retreat, Adaven firing a bolt of flame at the newcomer as two more, these in full wolf form, tear down the street towards him. Grey and Tarlach leap into the cart, and Tarlach grabs the reins, putting the switch to Greg’k the ill-tempered rothe, who begins to lumber forwards, gaining momentum.

As Adaven scrambles into the cart, a werewolf leaps up, its jaw ready to snap closed around the half-elf’s head. Grey rushes forward and clubs it with his shield, knocking the beast away with a crunch and a yelp. Adaven makes it in and turns to fling more bolts of fire, which seem to be able to hurt the werewolves where normal weapons cannot.

Tarlach kicks the cart into a desperate rush, pushing Greg’k the rothe as hard as he can. Grey swings his longsword, keeping the wolves at bay while Adaven hurls flame bolts and caltrops. The chase lasts several minutes, before the wolves are finally driven off. Exhausted but alive, the heroes continue on into the night.

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Day 11
Klarg 2: The Reckoning

The Talons leave the town hall of Phandalin triumphant, having secured their fame around town, rescued the captives at Tresendar Manor, and defeated the Redbrands. As Adaven‘s about to leave, Sildar Hallwinter asks to speak to him alone. Grey heads off to the Phandalin Miner’s Exchange to claim Halia’s bounty reward for ending the Redbrand threat, while Tarlach bumps into a rather annoying local adventurer called Daran Edermath who questions the bard’s abilities.

Sildar reveals to Adaven that he is a member of the Lords’ Alliance, a group dedicated to preserving law and order in the Realms. The organisation is headed by a cabal of merchants and nobles from major cities across Faerun. Adaven points out that he’s hardly got much in common with the noble classes, but Sildar points out that the Alliance is dedicated to protecting the common folk, keeping cities and towns safe from all manner of threats. He offers Adaven the title of Cloak of the Alliance. Adaven accepts, but is disappointed to find out that the cloak is strictly metaphorical.

Grey marches in to the Phandalin Miner’s Exchange and secures Halia’s one hundred gold coin bounty for removing the Redbrands. Looking the burly dragonborn up and down, Halia asks “say, do you fancy becoming a Fang of the ”/wikis/Zhentarim/new" class=“create-wiki-page-link”>Zhentarim? It pays well." Grey shrugs and accepts.

Tarlach, meanwhile, gets increasingly annoyed with Edermath, who repeatedly challenges his manhood. The fool mentions a reports of an undead threat over at the Old Owl Well, and claims that Tarlach lacks the wit and courage to go and deal with it. Tarlach laughs, twirls his cape dramatically and swears that he will end the undead scourge. He plays a quick solo on his lute, and departs.

A couple of other jobs are gathered; the Talons agree to secure the Lionshields’ captured goods from Klarg, and accept a bounty to deal with orc sightings near Wyvern Tor. They also meet local Tymoran priestess, Sister Garaele, who asks them to retrieve the spellbook of a famous wizard. To do so, they’d need to discover its location from a banshee called Agatha who lives near the town of Conyberry. She gives the team a silver comb to offer as tribute.

Having settled their business n town and gained some new contracts, the team heads back to Klarg’s cave for some long awaited payback. Hitching Grey’s cart and loyal rothe, Greg’k to a tree near the entrance to the hideout, the Talons creep forward. Two goblin sentries are dealth with in short order, and Adaven sneaks ahead to scout the first cave tunnel. He kills a goblin sentry on the bridge above with a crossbow bolt, and signals the others forward.

Entering the main chamber of the cave, the trio are spotted! Grey kills one goblin sentry with a thrown axe, and slices another in two with his new longsword. Tarlach and Adaven finish the final, fleeing goblin with arrows and bolts, and creep into position at the entrance to Klarg’s throne room.

Grey charges in, roaring that the Talons have come to revenge themselves upon the vile Klarg. The bugbear warrior strikes from the shadows, but Grey deflects his mighty blow with a shield. Klarg’s favourite wolf pet Ripper tears into Grey’s leg with his fangs and brings the dragonborn down, but Grey still scores a vicious hit on Klarg as he falls. Adaven and Tarlach strike, the former summoning an orb of fire to slam into the bugbear and scorch him badly, while Tarlach stabs the wolf with his rapier.

Klarg is powerful, but armed with the mighty longsword Talon, Grey is simply too strong for him. He batters into the monster, tearing chunks of flesh from its body. Tarlach dispatches the wolf pet with a sword thrust. Adaven spots an opportunity to steal a kill, and skitters forward, stabbing the surprised Klarg in the guts. The bugbear chief’s eyes roll back, and he topples over. Dead at last.

Tarlach secures the stolen supplies, while Grey and Adaven go after the two remaining goblins, who flee down a nearby escape chute. Grey says that he’ll capture one and find out where Cragmaw Castle really is. He leaps down the chute… and roughly six hundred tonnes of armoured dragonborn land arse-first on the unfortunate goblin, squashing him into a thin paste. The remaining goblin scampers into the woods outside and escapes. Several wolves secured to a chain snap at Grey, and he grumpily executes them with his greatsword. Klarg has been vanquished, and the supplies are secured.

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Day 10
The Talons of Tresendar

Victorious at last, the heroes strip the Tresendar Manor of valuables as efficiently as a pack of ravenous rust monsters. Searching through the caverns where the Nothic made its home, Adaven discovers a chest filled with treasure and a magnificent longsword worked in silver. He hands this to Grey.

Tarlach goes to retrieve the captured family, and along the way picks up the unfortunate goblin that the bugbear captain was using as an impromptu club. His name is Droop, and he is hired as a butler on a temporary contract until the groups finds someone marginally less repulsive.

Grey finds a letter in Glass-staff’s quarters that proves he is none other than Iarno Albrek, the very same “friend” that Sildar Hallwinter tasked the heroes with finding! The letter is from some kind of shadowy benefactor, and is signed only with the symbol of a spider.

The manor secured, our heroes march triumphantly into the bustling town hall of Phandalin, a surviving Redbrand prisoner and the three rescued family members in tow. Town official Harbin Wester is shocked (and phlegmy) to see them, and Tarlach’s charismatic victory speech quickly has the milling crowd roaring the heroes names. Grey reveals his fabulous new sword, and there are startled gasps – this is surely the famous Talon, ancestral weapon of the Tresendars.

After a brief but passionate discussion in which various possible names are rejected, the heroes finally shake hands on a new title for their adventuring group, inspired by their greatest victory thus far – the Talons of Tresendar are born!

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Days 8-9 Part 5
The trouble with wild magic...

Taking a moment in the midst of the carnage of their previous victory, our heroes reflect on their recent adventures. They each feel as if they’ve passed some kind of experiential milestone, and each feel stronger and more powerful than they’ve ever felt before. Adaven’s been brushing up on some of the rather underhanded skills he learned on the streets of Neverwinter, whileTarlach and Grey have both grown more powerful in their very different forms of combat. Tarlach’s bardic magic is also stronger than it’s ever been.

The group heads onwards. In the room beyond the destroyed mess hall, they find what looks like an alchemist’s workshop. Adaven studies the apparatus, but although someone’s clearly been creating potions here, he can’t tell what kind. He pockets a couple of vials, though. There’s some valuable stuff in here. The group press on. Before them is another door. Fixing his Redbrand cloak, Adaven swings the door open. Inside is a small but well-furnished bedroom, with a elegantly carved desk to one side. Sitting at the desk, quill in hand, is a short, dark-bearded human with an unassuming manner. He looks up and raises an eyebrow. “Yes, what is it?”

Adaven’s a little thrown by the man’s unruffled demeanour. He states that the bugbears have run amok, and are killing Rebrands throughout the manor. The man, clearly Glass-staff, sighs. He waves a hand distractedly at Adaven, telling the half-elf that he’s busy, and that he’s sure things will sort themselves out. Adaven looks blankly at Grey and Tarlach, who shrug back. “Fair enough,” he says, and summons an orb of chromatic energy, which he hurls at Glass-staff. The ball of light coalesces into a blast of lightning, but the wizard sitting at the desk is no fool. He stands and whips out a weapon in one move, a inquisitive staff made of pale green glass. As the draws the staff, a shimmering field of energy envelops him. Adaven’s chromatic orb spell splashes off the wizard’s defences.

Eyes narrowed in cold anger, Glass-staff weaves his own spell. He gestures to Adaven, who feels a soothing echo reverberate in his mind, whispering that this wizard is no enemy, indeed a valuable friend. Fortunately, the sorcerer’s elven heritage steels his mind against the charm. He shrugs off the wizard’s spell. Grey and Tarlach begin to move into the room to engage. Grey flanks to the right, while Tarlach decides to try out a new spell. Roaring a word of arcane power, he blasts Glass-staff with a wave of rolling thunder. The little wizard is blasted entirely off his feet, smashing head over heels into the wall behind him – which promptly crumples, revealing a secret passageway with stairs that appear to lead up.

Adaven grins, and prepares another spell. “Nice try Glass-staff, but you’re not dealing with weak-minded fools any more,” he says, but as soon as he releases the spell there is a shimmer in the weave, and a chaotic cascade of pure wild energy ripples out from him, turning everyone in the room invisible. “Oops,” the disembodied Adaven says.

Tarlach and Grey register no small amount of consternation with this new development. Glass-staff merely laughs. “Your magic is that of a witless child, half-elf,” he snickers, “you have no control and no talent for it. Much as I would love to entertain you three fools, I’m afraid I have urgent business elsewhere. I am sure we will meet again soon.” With that, the heroes hear scampering feet making for the top of the secret staircase as the now invisible villain makes good his escape.

Grey says something uncomplimentary about Adaven’s parents, and hurtles after the retreating wizard. Tarlach and Adaven follow, the latter rather sheepishly. At the top of the stairs, there is no sign of Glass-staff, and no door to be seen. Luckily Adaven’s observant eyes pick out a small panel on the wall. Grey punches it, and a secret door swings open, leading to the back of the cavernous entrance area with the deep crevasse that our heroes had traversed earlier.

The group rushes forward, and hears the wizard Glass-staff’s voice once more. “MY, you are persistent, aren’t you? I’m afraid I can’t stay for drinks, but I’ll ask my friend here to keep you company.” The heroes feel a familiar cold, malevolent presence in their minds, and a hideous one-eyed creature emerges from the crevasse. It resembles a kind of nightmare, cycloptic lizard monster. It walks on two legs, and packs a pair of razor-sharp claws and a row of dirty, jagged teeth. “A nothic!”, Tarlach shouts.

“I do apologise friends,” the creature rasps within the groups’ minds, “I’m afraid I must renege on our previously beneficial relationship.” With that the lurking aberration leaps forward, and focuses its foul yellow eye on Grey, who’s at the head of the group. The eye blasts the dragonborn with a wave of foul, necrotic energy. Fortunately, Grey is not your typical dragonborn, and happens to eat foul, necrotic energy for breakfast. Though the blast of negative energy withers some of his scales, he shrugs off the hit without too much trouble.

The dragonborn warrior leaps forward, striking once, twice across the nothic’s leathery chest with his greatsword. Tarlach rushes in as well, sliding beneath one claw swipe and taking he other to the arm as he gets into position for a flank. Adaven hears laughter fading in the distance, and concludes that Glass-staff is as good as gone. He curses and sends a crossbow bolt into the nothic’s leg. The monster howls. Tarlach and Grey team up to cut the beast to pieces, but it manages to slash the bard and scamper away. It slips down into its pit, cursing our names. Just as it’s about to hide in the darkness below, Adaven sights in on it and sends another bolt down into the pit. The bolt bursts through the back of the nothic’s head, bursting forth from its single eye in a spray of gory ichor. The beast drops to the ground, clearly dead. Glass-staff has escaped, but Tresendar Manor has been cleared.

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