Lost Mines of Phandelver

Yartar Bound

The Talons of Tresendar discussed their options with their allies in Phandalin, and it was decided Yartar would be the next port of call, Ontharr Frume being a known ally within the town. To get to Yartar would mean travelling through Triboar, and could take several days.

The trio packed and left swiftly, heading along the Triboar Trail. A brief but bloody encounter with a band of Many-Arrows orcs and a larger skirmish with a group of Umberlee worshipping river-raiders serving to alleviate any boredom during the journey.

Triboar proved to be a welcoming town, with a surfeit of pubs and coach houses. Tarlach Malthar was able to find a watering hole that met his exacting standards. After visiting several establishments, he settled on the The Frost-Touched Frog, an Inn that embraced fine drink as well as the arts. The staff were friendly, and even a potential confrontation with Yreskan Ammulk, a Half-Orc wheelwright. ended in amicable relations, with the Half-Orc offering his services in order to repair and maintain Grey’s cart.

Tarlach Malthar spent the evening working on his poetry, while Adaven got stuck into the fine food and drink on offer, unused to having so much money at his disposal.

A relaxing night was followed with an early start, the Half-Orc wheelwright made good on his word and the wagon was soon good to go again, for the second half of the journey, this time on the well-made road to Yartar, a welcome change from the rutted and ill maintained tracks around Neverwinter Wood.

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A Chance Encounter
Suspicious folk on the road

While journeying back to Phandalin, with Sergeant Markguth and his new recruit, Private Nighthill, in tow, the Talons of Tresendar happened across three travellers camping out along the road. Their suspicious behaviour led to a brief exchange of fire, in which Grey brutally killed two of them.

The survivor was able to tell them he was a cultist, and confirmed that the rest of his allies had split up, their mission in this particular part of the Sword Coast now complete. He clearly had no idea of the real goal of the Cult, but his information served to confirm that at least some of his allies had headed in the direction of Yartar.

All three of the cultists had displayed strange twitching behaviour, and Tarlach Malthar performed an impromptu autopsy on one of them, much to the horror of Sergeant Markguth. He was, however, unable to find the cause of their symptoms. All three cultists had strange holes, in their skin, and claimed a ‘worm’ had been placed inside them. It appeared something was growing within them, using their bodies as a host in order to grow. Adaven recalled seeing a pile of corpses that seemed to have large holes in their skin, as if something had eaten it’s way out of them, they surmised that a proportion of the strange draconic enemies, for example the dog-lizard attack drakes had been grown inside unsuspecting human hosts. Not a pleasant thought for the trip back to Phandalin.

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The Hatchery

On returning to the dragon cult, the Talons of Tresendar found the camp to be largely abandoned, bar a light guard surrounding the hatchery itself. They waltzed unopposed into the camp, slaying the guards at the entrance to the hatchery before following the path Adaven had scouted on his previous visit.

After fighting a larger group of cultists and Dragonclaws, who were eliminated thanks to a well-placed shatter spell from Tarlach Malthar coupled with some equally well placed strikes from Grey. Adaven then led them to the Wearer of Purple’s inner sanctum, where they uncovered a secret hatch leading into the depths of the cavern. The Talons climbed down the rope ladder and tumbled out into a large cavern, covered with relief carvings of dragons, the black dragons being noticeably more detailed. Standing in the centre of the room, her hands playing across an orb of pulsing black energy stood the Wearer of Purple herself, Frulam Mondath.

Frulam Mondath moved to attack immediately, ordering two lumbering Dragonborn warriors to engage the Talons in melee combat. The Dragonborn made the mistake of crossing swords with Grey, who wasted no time in cutting them down, with a modicum of help from Adaven, who slung spells at the trio of enemies, whittling them down. Soon the trio of enemies fell, despite the orb feeding on the wounds of the Talons, and directing the leached life energy into the desperate Frulam Mondath. Even with the aid of her twisted magic, she soon fell.

A small box lay under the orb of darkness, and whilst opening it, Tarlach Malthar triggered a trap, poisoning himself in the process. Despite this minor setback, the Talons were soon rested enough to push further into the interior of the Hatchery. Their exploration took then into a large cave with a sharp slope down to a lower level, the entrance covered with a thick cage. A malnourished band of Kobolds began a half-hearted attack from the darkened corner of the room, but were soon crushed. The Talons noticed a couple of the Attack Drakes that had been present during the siege, these were slightly larger however, and a set of collars and leashes nearby suggested they had been tamed to some degree. Dragon eggs littered the far corners of the cavern, their ominous forms illuminated by a series of pale blue lights at the perimeter of the room.

Whilst investigating the cavern, the Talons were then assaulted by a roper, a vicious stone-like creature who’s strength sapping tentacles pulled prey in to a gigantic maw. The Talons managed to fight the creature to an impasse, and convinced it to let them go in exchange for a supply of food (the corpses of cultists and kobolds alike sufficed). The Roper, happy with its tribute, allowed the Talons to proceed, fortunate for the heroes as they were sorely wounded during the encounter.

The Talons then spent several minutes scouring the rest of the hatchery, finding a large cavern filled with stirges, as well as a further cave with yet more dragon eggs, and more of the lizard-like attack drakes. A nest of kobolds also fell to their blades, the creatures lair a filthy stinking mess of discarded bones and rotten food.

The exit was blocked by a field of noxious fungi, which began to move, knocking Tarlach Malthar flat with their poisonous spores. Above the field of mushrooms swung a naked and bound halfling, who asked politely for their help as he dangled over the cavern floor. The Talons recovered their wits, and cut the remaining fungi to pieces, before rescuing the halfling, who introduced himself as Ratshadow.

Having scoured and secured the hatchery, the heroes headed back for Phandalin, the knowledge they had picked up suggesting the bulk of the cultists had headed for Yartar, although Rezmir seemed to have taken a small forced into the Mere of Dead Men. They decided to rest at the manor before deciding their next course of action.

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Returning to Phandalin

On returning to Phandalin, the Talons of Tresendar were met by Sildar Hallwinter, who congratulated them on the information they had attained, as well as the rescue of the captured townsfolk. Leosin Erlanthar the harper was also glad to see his master Escobert the Red, who in turn chose this moment to reveal himself as Rodolphus Crownhollow, former mentor to Adaven and powerful mage in his own right.

The heroes used their brief time in town to catch up with their goblin quartermaster, Droop, as well as overseeing the remaining repairs to Tresendar Manor post-siege. Grey used the time to exchange messages with Halia Thornton, whilst Adaven caught up with his Dwarven tutor.

After this brief respite, the Talons were tasked with a further visit to the Dragon Cult’s camp, in order to further scout the camp, as well as dealing with whatever threat lay within the hatchery.

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The Cultist's Camp
Here be Dragons?

The Talons disguised themselves as cultists and followed the trail left by the passing army with ease. Despite dispersing on their retreat, groups of cultists had trod the ground flat in their passing. The Talons soon happened upon a rear-guard, holding out in a small hollow, their number consisted of a group of cultists and a large red Dragonborn, as well as a small band of Kobolds. After some awkward small-talk, the Talons were on their way again, the foe none the wiser for their passing and the location of the camp disclosed to them by the unsuspecting cultists.

The camp itself lay in a wide hollow, with sloping cliff faces surrounding the settlements, rising to over 100ft at the tallest point. Kobolds made their filthy lair at one end, whilst at the other lay a network of caves, guarded by several of the black-robed and masked Dragon cultists. Security was lax, and the Talons easily talked their way into the encampment, before setting about investigating the size and threat of the enemy force, as well as searching for the mysterious Dwarven Harper.

The prisoners were soon located, and with some friendly banter, the guards allowed the Talons access on the pretence that they wanted to gloat at the captives. Tarlach Malthar was able to converse with the Dwarf, who seemed unwilling to be rescued, having formed his own plans, but grudgingly agreed to accompany the trio. Adaven and Grey decided to gather more information on the camp, in order that a plan could be formed.

Grey spent several hours conversing with the mercenaries and soldiers in the camp, running into a fellow Dragonborn who had been present when the Talons ran into the rearguard of the cult army on the approach to the main camp. The red Dragonborn and Grey made small talk and Grey was able to gather some intelligence on the number and leadership of the cult in the Sword Coast.

Adaven made even better progress, casting a spell of invisibility, he was able to access the cave (ominously referred to as the hatchery), and observe the leadership in conversation, the mysterious Wearer in Purple – Frulam Mondath and her superior, the Half-Dragon, Wyrmspeaker Rezmir. The Wyrmspeaker appeared to be heading south on cult business, and had charged Mondath with protecting the hatchery before moving on with the remainder of the cult’s forces. Adaven was also able to gather further intelligence on cult numbers and hierarchy, stealing ledgers and papers from Mondath’s desk.

On meeting again, later at night, the trio forged a plan to escape with their prisoners. They would gather garb to disguise the prisoners, Adaven would disguise himself as Frulam Mondath in order to convince the guards to let him see the prisoners alone while Grey set fire to the Kobold camp, causing a commotion and drawing defenders away. Tarlach Malthar aided the plan by building piles of flammable material amongst the haphazard Kobold tents. The trio and their liberated allies would then scale the sloping wall of the canyon by rope and escape into the night.

The plan started smoothly enough, Tarlach Malthar and Adaven were able to secure the prisoners, and Grey certainly caused a distraction. Unfortunately, the distraction was entirely focused on Grey himself, and he was outed as “the Slayer of ”/wikis/langdedrosa-cyanwrath" class=“wiki-page-link”>Cyanwrath“, a title he took some pride in, but one that made him rather unpopular amongst the ”/wikis/Cult%20of%20the%20Dragon/new" class=“create-wiki-page-link”>Cult of the Dragon. Grey decided that flight would be more prudent than flight on this occasion, and took to his heels, gathering a sizeable following as he went.

Adaven and Tarlach Malthar were thus able to escape with the liberated prisoners far easier than they had suspected, and after ushering them into a safer position away from the ridge, began looking for Grey. Fortunately the Dragonborn had eventually shaken his pursuers, and was able to spy his allies atop the camp’s natural wall, he quickly made haste to the rope proffered to him, and began scrambling to safety. As he climbed, Tarlach Malthar fired a few arrows into the pursuing cultists, and was able to wing the Wearer of Purple, much to his satisfaction.

With the prisoners free, the Talons made haste back to Phandalin while confusion still reigned in the cultist’s lair.

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The Lonely Hunt
Tracking the Cult

After the cult’s forces retreated, the Talons took some time to recuperate, and inspect the damage to their facilities – arranging for Dwarven help in repairing the battered manor.

It wasn’t long before another visitor arrived, a man familiar to Tarlach Malthar, who had earlier followed him through Phandalin’s streets, after having suspected him of spying on the Talons. The man was a Half-Elf monk, introducing himself as Leosin Erlanthar. Erlanthar was cagey about his employment situation, but after Tarlach Malthar presented him with the coded message he had taken from Leosin during their last brief encounter, it became clear he was affiliated with the Harpers. Leosin requested the aid of the Talons in rescuing his master, a Dwarf who had gotten himself captured in an encounter with the Cult of the Dragon in order to gain access to their camp.

Sildar Hallwinter was most interested in scouting the camp as well, reasoning to Adaven that the Lord’s Alliance would benefit from knowing the plans of the cult, and would be able to divert resources to protect any potential target the cult may have.

The Talons of course agreed to take up the challenge, deciding to set off after the cult at first light. The size of the force made tracking rather easy, and they soon set off to the south in pursuit of their foes.

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End of the Siege

The fight at the Townmaster’s Hall was brief and bloody, the cultists slain in a swift flurry of blades and arrows. The Talons then evacuated the surviving townsfolk, leading them through the shattered streets and to the relative safety of the fortress.

Upon returning to the fortress, panicked guards appeared, reporting that the remaining force of cultists was assembling on the field, several prisoners in tow. The Talons rushed to meet the threat, and saw before them the assembled ranks of dragon cultists, eight or nine bedraggled prisoners kneeling in front of their ranks. At this point, a monstrous blue Half-Dragon warrior declaring himself Langdedrosa Cyanwrath, pushed his way to the front of their army, challenging the Talons to send a champion against him, or watch the prisoners die.

Grey was eager to meet the challenge, and test his blade against that of the blue monstrosity, he pushed his way through the defenders and into the field. Adaven felt he had to try and help the Dragonborn, and so he cast a spell of invisibility and followed his ally out into the night. The Half-Dragon warrior, Cyanwrath, was a boastful and arrogant combatant, but clearly competent. Regardless, Grey was able to defeat the champion of the Cult of the Dragon, but not before the monster directed a cone of electrical energy at him, frying the unfortunate Elmar Barthen, owner of the provisionsstore in the process.

On seeing their champion fall, the cultists made their retreat back to their main camp, spitting and cursing at the Talons as they left.

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Rescue Party
Once more into the breach

Disguised as cultists, the Talons pushed into town, running into another group masked dragon cultists, chanting in draconic as they marched. Thanks to Grey’s grasp of the draconic tongue, the trio were able to bluff the enemy, and began marching with them towards the Townmaster’s Hall. Before they could reach the Hall itself, Grey elected to kill the four cultists they had joined, leaving their bodies in the dirt at the side of the road.

On reaching the Hall, it was clear that an out-and-out assault was out of the question. A procession of cultists and kobolds, with two of the wingless ambush drakes, marched round the town centre, their voices raised in praise to Tiamat. At the rear of the building, a small group of kobolds led by a hulking, bloodstained Dragonborn, were attempting to claw open a sturdy door. At the front of the building, two cultists hefted a battering ram, attempting to smash the double doors open. They were directed by a familiar masked figure, Favric, the same cultist the Talons had crossed after defeating Venomfang in Thundertree.

Grey was able to convince the Favric that he would be able to smash the door much faster, and moved to grab the ram himself. He then attempted to slow the process down using what sleight of hand he could manage, giving Tarlach Malthar and Adaven time to distract the remaining forces.

Adaven managed to convince the forces at the rear of the building that a group of armed Dwarven warriors were advancing on the town, and directed them to move to the north side of town to confront this new threat. After some persuasion, the aggressive Dragonborn led his kobold minions away, eager to fight. Adaven was then able to convince the villagers within to open the rear door, and was heartened to see that Sister Garaele was amongst their number. Adaven then began firing arrows through the rapidly disintegrating front door, making sure not to hit Grey in the process.

Tarlach Malthar meanwhile, had been able to rile up the procession of cultists, convincing them their efforts would be better spent intimidating those villagers holed up in the Tresendar Manor, and led the procession away from the Townmaster’s Hall. He was able to slip away as the procession moved off, and made his way back to the town centre, taking up position in the shadows of a large tree, with an excellent view of the remaining dragon cultists.

Grey had delayed long enough, and as his battering ram finally smashed the wooden doors, he dropped the heavy ram, drawing his sword as he wheeled on the unsuspecting cultists, as Adaven stepped forth from inside, crossbow levelled at the advancing foes.

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Phandalin beseiged

Having resolved to travel to Yartar as soon as Grey had taken delivery of his new armour, the Talons spent the next few days seeing to the renovation of the Tresendar Manor, each seeing to the design of their own living quarters.

The town and surrounding area was buoyed by the return of the Talons, and their renovation of the manor, the community relaxed and completely unprepared for a surprise attack by masked cultists and a familiar dragon. The Talons were roused from their business late at night by screams, shouts and the banging of desperate villagers on the main door of the manor. Letting the bedraggled survivors in, the heroes were stunned to see Phandalin burning before them. Immediately efforts were made to barricade the manor doors, and on the suggestion of Sildar Hallwinter, efforts were made to scout the town and bring in more survivors.

The Talons made a brief foray into town, bringing back a few survivors and coming into contact with several strange, winged Kobolds, as well as cultists with metal piercings thrust through their bodies, grasping strange batons that crackled with electricity. After rescuing a few civilians, the Talons began shoring up the secret entrance to the manor, setting traps and charging Iarno Albrek with warning the Dwarves, and bringing reinforcements if possible. Adaven was also able to question a cultist prisoner, who gave away the location of the main force, camped some way outisde town, as well as hinting that the leader of this particular army was known as “The Wearer of Purple”.

The beseiging army battered away at the front entrance, and the dragon Venomfang slew many guards, before he could be driven away once more by the wild magic of Adaven. The Talons could be sure they had not seen the last of this particular foe, as he wheeled away spitting curses in a booming draconic voice.

Meanwhile, kobold minions managed to breach the kitchen door, and clashed with the meagre forces remaining within the manor. The Talons rushed to help, and were able (with the help of Sildar Hallwinter) to beat off the attack, collapsing the kitchen door in the process. The attackers consisted of several strangely mutilated cultists wielding odd weapons, as well as a strange lizard-drake the size of a large dog. Unfortunately, as the doorway was destroyed, Grey was trapped outside, forcing him to dispatch two more cultists and rush to affect a disguise in order to escape the attention of the remaining attackers. Grey was able to slip his attackers and circle round to the secret entrance, running in to Daran Edermath in the process. Daran Edermath resolved to guard the entrance, and ensure that any survivors were guided through the traps laid out by the Talons. Grey returned just as Adaven spied a further problem, dragon cultists setting fires around the farmsteads, as well as the miner’s exchange.

The decision was made to save the farmstead, despite being wounded and battered, the Talons headed back out of the rear entrance, and on to the farm. As the Talons exited the treeline, fleeing peasants were attempting to reach the relative safety of the woodland, pursued by ravenous kobolds. A quick volley of arrows from the bows of the Talons put the beasts down, although one peasant was brutally killed before they could finish the vile creatures. The remaining peasants were advised to linger in the trees and await their return, or keep watch for Daran Edermath, who would guide them to safety.

Upon reaching the farm, the Talons advanced softly and reached the relative cover of a dry-stone wall, peeking at the farmstead beyond. Tarlach Malthar noted that the cultist was making a great show of directing the kobold minions, and that the fires were being placed in an odd manner. Suspicious of an ambush, Adaven cast invisibility on himself, and scouted the building himself. Adaven had to be especially careful, as another of the odd dragon-lizards prowled the exterior of the farm. Adaven made his way in without issue, and discovered the presence of six mercenary warriors, clearly an ambush for the Talons. He attempted to leave, but attracted the attention of the mercs. In his panic, he attempted to cast a Phantasm to distract the foe, but the spell failed to affect the mercenary soldier. Fortunately for Adaven, his wild magic erupted once more, shrouding the building in fog and allowing him to escape.

As the shouts came from the farm, Grey leapt to his feet and began closing the distance on his foes. He was spotted by a kobold, but Tarlach Malthar put an arrow through the creature’s throat before it could utter a sound. Adaven made use of his spider staff to scale the farm wall, and began picking off mercenaries and kobolds alike with his crossbow. After a brief but violent scuffle, the cultists were defeated, and the Talons held position until Sildar Hallwinter’s forces arrived to take over.

Sildar’s reinforcements informed the Talons that the townmaster’s lodge was now under attack, and survivors had been spotted within. Wearily, they headed once more into the burning town, disgusing themselves as cultists in order to avoid unnecessary combat.

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Return to Phandalin
Risk rewarded

Upon returning to town, the heroes sought out Gundren Rockseeker, who was most glad to see one of his brothers still alive, and professed his gratitude to the Talons by gifting them a claim in the profits of the mine. Gundren Rockseeker, Nundro and the Talons spent the ensuing days tending to business, Gundren Rockseeker arranging his dwarven crews in preparation for re-opening the mine, Adaven catching up on local events, Grey attending to business, and Tarlach Malthar carousing.

Harbin Wester was also grateful to the Talons, pleased that the newly opened mine would increase traffic to Phandalin and help the small town bloom. The townmaster was grateful enough to present the deeds for Tresendar Manor house to the trio of adventurers. Several days were spent surveying the ruined building, and drawing up plans for its renovation, a process made easier by Gundren Rockseeker providing Dwarven labour.

Whilst this building work continued, Grey had been attempting to negotiate purchase of an extra Rothe to ease Greg’k’s burden, and in the process come across a rather irritating dwarf, named Escobert the Red – who agreed to the sale on condition that they helped him with some business. This business led to a meeting with two travellers from a passing caravan, one a flamboyant halfling, named Losvius Longnose, and the other a stern human female, clearly a warrior named Leda Widris. The business involved transfer of an unknown items to a third party to the south, through Yartar. The pair made some attempt to hire the Talons as guards for their journey, promising to meet them in Yartarr in one week if they were interested. During the course of conversation with the Dwarf, it transpired that the item he was transferring to the duo might not be of the nature they expected, and possibly not genuine. Adaven and Grey kept this rather quiet, reasoning that the whole exchange was only a means of getting hold of another Rothe, and that any business transaction was between the Halfling and the Dwarf.

Tarlach Malthar, meanwhile, had been observing the conversation from a darkened corner and had noticed a rough looking traveller listening in to the conversation. Resolving to follow the unknown eavesdropper, he waited outside the inn until the fellow left, picking his pocket as he passed. The contents of the travellers pocket were suspicious, particularly a piece of parchment with symbols and writing, clearly in code. Tarlach Malthar followed the gent to the centre of town, where he watched the Halfling visit the shrine of Tymora and sister Sister Garaele. Smiling, the stranger left town, pausing only to notice his empty pockets, and curse loudly as he mounted his horse and headed out of town.

Tarlach Malthar showed the stolen parchment to Adaven who noticed similarities to a code he had seen before. The duo took the parchment to Sister Garaele who betrayed some concern and appeared to hint the code may be Harper in origin. Tarlach Malthar wondered why the Harpers may be watching the pair of travellers and reasoned that something iffy was going on, resolving to meet the caravan in Yartar just for the satisfaction of sating his curiosity.

The trio retired to their manor house, in the few weeks since the liberation of the mine it had been restored to a livable state, with roof intact and only interior work to complete. The Talons spent the next day or two moving their personal effects in, and securing the secret entrance to the rear.

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