Tyranny of Dragons

Beginnings - Lost Mines of Phandelver

Chapters 1-7

Chapter 1: Not the Beginning…

Aeron Glitterstone approached Reven with a job from one of his kin. A dwarf named Gundren Glitterstone requested a shipment of supplies taken to the town of Phandalin. There is something Gundren and his brothers have been looking into that would mean great wealth and prosperity to the clan and the region around Phandalin. Together the dwarf and half-elf make their way to Waterdeep to acquire the goods and to bring them up north.

With talk of bandits on the road and the inclement weather Aeron suggests hiring some extra hands in case the need arises. In the tavern they make the acquaintance of Harlin a young adventurer with stories of his past adventures. They also recruit a young woman named Victoria Domine a skilled scout and archer. They both agreed to take on the job and would meet at the gate at dawn. When dawn came they began to set out, but Veronica was no where to be found. Instead a young woman named Cora appeared to cross their paths and asked if they needed a hand. So Aeron said if she knows how to use that bow then she has a job.

They traveled up north and spent the night in Leilon where they met Selvriane, a young half elf druid that seemed a bit out of place in civilization. Harlin taking a liking to her called her over, after some introductions and a few stories he invited Selvriane along to Phandalin. Aeron initially protested, but Harlin convinced him that a druid could have skills that would prove valuable.

On the road towards Phandalin, Harlin tells Selvriane a story about an encounter with a coven of witches who were really elves who’s hands were replaced with hooks. Reven playing a song on his lyre inspired by the sounds of the surrounding wind and trees. They come upon two dead horses on the road, when suddenly they are attacked.

Goblins! They have been ambushed. Aeron summons a flaming hammer which he hurls and bursts into fire smashing the goblins. Selvriane fires her bow as does Cora at the remaining goblins. Cora looking distraught by the conflict is offered a flower from Selvriane. The young Druid blooms the flower from her hands. Cora refuses it and walks away, though Harlin is willing to accept it instead and smiles.

Reven picks up his instrument which had fallen off the wagon into a puddle of mud. “I hate dirty lyres,” he says.

Aeron realizes that the horses may belong to Gundren’s group and he was likely ambushed as well. They follow the tracks of the goblins back to their lair. They travel about 5 miles to a stream which leads to a cave. After dispatching the goblin sentries they enter the base.

Inside Selvriane finds three abused and mistreated wolves. The druid soothes them and with Reven’s helps release the beasts of their bonds. The wolves express their thanks to the druid and run into the woods.

Avoiding a large water surge trap, they engage the goblins within. Aeron and Reven fight the Bugbear leader, while Cora and Selvriane fight to free a human captive.

The old man they learn is Sildar Hallwinter. Sildar claims to be an agent of the Lord’s Alliance. Thankful at being rescued he asked for their aid to travel back to Phandalin.

He confides in the party that he was traveling with Gundren when they were attacked. He wasn’t able to make out too much but he heard that something called the Black Spider wanted Gundren and his map taken to Cragmaw Castle. He doesn’t know what Cragmaw castle is, but knows that there is a clan of goblins known as the Cragmaw. It might do them good to ask around in Phandalin the locals might know more.

He explains that Gundren has been looking for the Wave Echo Cave and the Forge of Spells and had found it. His map showed the way and likely this Black Spider has similar goals.

Sildar also explains his business in Phandalin to find out what happened to a missing member of the Alliance. Iarno Albrek as well as reestablish order in the region. Iarno had gone silent not long after his arrival and he fears the worst.

Upon reaching Phandalin the party settles accounts with the transported goods, as well as making some prophet and new friends by returning recovered goods from the goblin cave.

They take the evening to relax and drink in the Stonehill Inn, where Selvriane gets her first experience with ale. They also play cards with Harlin, where Selvriane wins three hands and Aeron gets the worst hands of the night and has to buy drinks. Cora takes leave on her own, while Reven goes for a walk.

The soon learn that the town is under the control of a group of ruffians known as the Redbrands. Reven is attacked by them badly hurt he rushes back to the Stonehill Inn with the Redbrands making chase.

Reven bursts in shouting “I made some new friends.”

Selvriane a bit drunk giggles to Reven, “I’m winning.”

When the Redbrands catch up to Reven. Harlin hands his cards to Selvriane with a wink says he’ll be right back and joins the fight. Aeron also goes on the offensive. Cora watches from the fight from the balcony and soon retires to her room. Realizing they won’t have a hard time with the brawl.

Reven holds his own but soon succumb to his injuries and passes out. Selvriane stands and on her command her ivy tattoo uncoils from her arm and forms a thorned whip which launches from her hand, wrapping the last of the Redbrands and pulled them in like of Harlin and Aeron’s attacks. The two strike the thug and finish him off.

Reven is badly injured. Aeron takes care of his companion and takes him to his room. The bar tender brings another round of drinks as Harlin tosses the bodies outside the inn. Selvriane and Harlin learn that the Redbrands have been intimidating folks for some time and have killed those that speak up against them. They learn about the local woodcarver, Thel Dendrar, who resisted them and was murdered in the streets as an example, his wife and children then vanished. With the innkeepers thanks the Selvriane and Harlin retire for the night.

Chapter 2 : Homecoming

Cora wanders the streets of Waterdeep to her childhood home. No trace remains of her family, her life, or the deaths. It’s as if it was erased and never happened but it is still all too real for her. She hears her footsteps as she rose to the upper floor, heard the tear and deluge of blood as her mother’s blood spilled on the ground, the hard crack of her lifeless body as it collapsed on the wooden floor. She can still see the lifeless body of her mother once proud and powerful, her father once wise and cunning still and pale, and the cold yellow eyes for the half dragon assassin.

She traces her steps when she fled, walking down the allies of Waterdeep for the first time in three years. He body shivering from the cold breeze and the mix of fear, rage, and sorrow threatening to overwhelm her. She makes her way to her Aunt Layla’s house, the once pleasant and warm home of her aunt is abandoned and boarded up. Where her home was erased of her presence, her aunt’s was simply discarded and for a moment Cora can not reconcile which is the worst of the two fates.

She enters the home, it doesn’t take much to slip in, thick with dust and no light. She sees a dried up puddle of blood on the floor where her aunt had fallen. She remembers peaking in the window and seeing her hand behind the table, lifeless on the ground and the Dragonclaws searching the home, and the scream the foolishly escaped from her throat.

Cora finds on the floor a stacks piece, and remembers her aunt telling her while smoking her pipe a woman’s mind is her most dangerous weapon. Having a keen mind help you overcome obstacles you didn’t even know you had to endure.

Picking up her dust covered piece tears stream down Cora’s face, she collects the pieces and places them in a small box with the board. Her body trembling she hears a ringing noise and her aunt’s voice calling to her to wake up…

Cora wakes with a wild scream. She is in her room in the Stonehill Inn in Phandalin. The rest of the party stirs in the morning and go down for breakfast.

Cora and Harlin eat breakfast while the others sleep and he shares what he has learned about the Redbrands. Selvriane soon joins them and Cora helps her nurse the hangover encouraging her to drink and eat. Harlin is surprised to learn this is her first experience with drink. Harlin divides the share from the supplies and spoils sold. When Reven and Aeron join them Reven is confused about his share, but Harlin insists he takes it.

Aeron spends his breakfast reading a book and suggests they go out and begin to talk with the townsfolk. They split up and learn just how much of a threat the Redbrands are to the town. They shake down local merchants and farmers as well as making villagers disappear.

They also learn that Gundren’s two brothers, Nundro and Tharden had been camping in the hills outside town and are due back for resupplying. They don’t find any information on Cragmaw Castle, but get a suggestion as well as a job offer from Halia of the Miner’s Exchange. She notes that there is a goblin that is works with the Redbrands that may be able to give information on where the Cragmaw Castle would be located. Says if the party happens to encounter and take out the Redbrand’s leader a man called Glasstaff and deliver any correspondence they find in his office she is willing to pay for this.

They revisit Sildar’s who is now taking up residence in the Townmaster’s Hall and he urges them to help with the Redbrand plight as well as to help find Gundren.

They also speak to the town master, Harbon Wester, a old, fat, pompous man. Cora intimidates him and ask why he’s allowed the Redbrands to gain a foothold. Selvriane casts a spell trying to determine if the tea being offered was poisoned, Cora convinces the town master that the spell was a hex that will make his penis shrink with every lie he tells. He tells the party that he can’t stand against them, or officially sanction them to take them out. But might unofficially reward them for their help. And taking out the local orc problem as well. Selvriane soon ‘removes’ the hex and they head out.

Using the information they gathered around town they find the Redbrand hang out at the Sleeping Giant Pub which is on the way to the old manor that rumor has it is their base.

The party discusses the need for gathering intelligence, Aeron agrees and throws his flaming hammer picking off one of the Redbrands forcing the party into a fight. Selvriane attacks with her thorn whip but misses, the Redbrand press his attack injuring her. Cora and Aeron rushes to her wounding the Redbrand. Harlin takes out another Red Brand and Reven knocks one to his knees.

They make their way to the abandoned manor just east of the Sleeping Giant. Selvriane turns into a cat and she and Cora do reconnaissance. They find the entrance which leads to a the cellar of the manor. Aeron takes it upon himself to carry Selvriane in cat from which he seems to take great pleasure. Seems he’s a cat lover.

In the cellar they find a cistern, Reven investigates and finds a bag with some money, clothes, and potions. In the next room they encounter some more Redbrand members and take them out. Harlin finishes them off stating that they wouldn’t hesitate to do the same to them, and they can’t afford to leave anyone behind them. This seems to disturb Cora who is clearly uncomfortable with killing humans.

Avoiding traps in the next corridor and defeating some animated skeletons which the party wonders what could have animated them. Selvriane meows and Aeron feeds her some pork.

They find a jail where they discover a woman named Mirna Dendrar, the woodcarver’s wife, and her children held prisoner. She tells the party that the Redbrands were going to sell them as slaves. Aeron decides he will escort them back to the Stonehill Inn and tells the group to press on, he will return when he can.

They find a store room and grab some weapons and gear. Harlin finds a secret door which leads to a large natural cavern. They press on into the darkness.

Chapter 3: Way of the Sword

“Focus, breathe, and center your mind…”

Reven concentrates focusing on his breath he gently wills his mind to touch the weave and gather its energy around his fingertips. He concentrates on the pattern and when he opens his hand a small burst of flame pops, flickers and the suddenly grows wildly burning his hand. Reven lets out a grunt of pain as he falls on the stone floor. He tries to look as his hand but his head ache has blurred his vision, it’s hard to see how bad it is.

“Again,” says his father commands. Tribbs Ankers, or so he goes by these, stands like a taskmaster over his son. If there was any concern for his health it wasn’t displayed on his face.

_“I can’t….” Reven says in a pained voice. His hand was blacked and blistered due to his outburst of magic. “I can’t control it.” _

_ “You can, and you will.” Tribb’s shadow loomed over him. His father’s piercing blue eyes seemed to glow with a resolve that could not be denied. “Stand up. Again,” he commanded and Reven forced himself up._

Reven begins to concentrate, he focuses on his breathing. As he concentrates he feels the pull of the weave, his mind connects to form the magic, it happens. A flash and his world melts away:

He is surrounded by a red overcast sky, with a horizon of pure black a massive shadow that looms over the land. Bodies around him as long and as far as the eyes can see human, dwarf, orc, and elven, men, women, and children he doesn’t see faces, but they feel familiar. In the shadow that looms over the horizon are 10 stars and fire that glows blue.
A cloaked figure stands before him raising a golden bow towards the darkness with a brilliant white light glowing from the tip of the arrow.

His mind flashes back and in his hand he holds concentrated lighting. He holds it for a moment before it breaks and disperses.

His father watching him intently says nothing. After a few moments he says, “You almost had it this time. Again.”

“No. That’s enough. I can’t do it anymore.” Reven shouts.

His father lowers his head and breathes out a sigh. “No. You need to focus your mind. If you can’t do it with meditation,” He raises his left arm, a magic arm made of mithral and some other magic which Reven didn’t entirely understand. In his palm a torrent of electricity surges. “Then you will focus in battle!”

His father hurls a bolt of lightning at Reven, the young half-drow dives out of the way but it’s too slow sending him spiraling to the ground in pain. He crashed to the ground, to turns to orient himself and sword skitters across the ground towards him.

“Up.” Says his father. “Again.”

Reven stands holding the training blade, his feet shaking from the bolt of lightning and his anger. His father begins summoning another bolt, but Reven didn’t wait. He rolls aside predicting it’s trajectory closing the distance and attacks trying to interrupt the spell.

Tribbs released the spell, but it does not fire into a bolt, it shapes into a blade. Reven swings but his father parries and evades. Even through Tribbs is a human nearing 70 years old he is still as strong and as fast as in his prime which is beyond young Reven’s ability.
The old warrior easily evades his attacks and strikes him once, twice, three times with his lighting blade. The pain making Reven shout in agony. He channels his magic through his blade it erupts with magic force as he strikes at his father.

The world melts away again, he sees a cave… dark with a ravine. A chest below a makeshift bridge hidden in the darkness. And he sees silver wings within.

The shock of pain rips him back into the moment, his blade disarmed and his father’s book kicks him in the gut knocking him to the ground.

His father releases the blade and the lightning bolt bursts on the other end of the room with a massive explosion. “You blacked out.” He throws him a healing potion. “If you don’t master this ability it will get you killed.” Reven grips it in his hand, his pride and anger forcing him to shove it away. Though his body won’t respond.

“I have these visions for a reason.” Reven said. “I don’t want to make them go away.”
Tribbs looks down at his son. “Your mother had this gift. She was able to master it, to control it. You must master your power, Reven. You must focus and control your visions, or they will be the death of you.” His father’s stone face glare seemed to show a glint of an expression, was it sadness or disappointment? After a moment he walked out leaving Reven on the ground of the training hall. Alone.

The party continues through the secret path that leads to a large natural cavern where a pair of rickety rope bridges cross the path.

As they explore this area, a creature gets the jump on Reven. This one eyed creature, a Nothic attacks Reven. Harlin and Cora attack the creature. Selvriane still in her cat wild shape, leaps on the Nothic trying to claw out it’s eye. The monster grabs her and throws her into the 20ft deep gorge. The impact forces her into her half-elf shape where she finds a half eaten body.

Harlin and Reven finish off the creature and work to help Selvriane. Selvriane tells them that she found a chest and after inspecting opens to find a few items, including a sword. She calls out “Look at this sword I found.”

Reven for some reason feels like he’s seen this before.

Harlin climbs down into the gorge and inspects the blade. A longsword with a hilt shaped like outspread wings of a bird of prey in a silver-chased scabbard. “Talon" is etched on the hilt in elven letters.

Harlin recognizes the sword as the blade of a great knight named Aldith “Blackhawk” Tresendar. Sir Aldith died fighting off the orcs that attacked through the hidden caverns below his manor. His sword was lost until now. Reven inspects the blade and seems very enamored by it.

Cora, Selvriane, and Harlin mention that they should sell the blade and split the money. Reven tries to convince them to let him keep the sword, after a few moments of teasing him Harlin gives Reven the blade. Selvriane protests, but Harlin points out that magic swords are useful and Reven is the most skilled in it’s use. He promises to make it up to her and flashes a warm smile at her.

They cross the bridge, where Reven learns one is trapped and falls back into the gorge. As they explore Cora finds a hidden path that leads to the forest. They come across a hallway with two sets of doors, on one side they hear some humans loud and engaging in some sort of activity, in the other it sounds like goblins. They come up with a plan to tie the two door handles together so they are unable to pull the doors open (they swing inwards). Once they set this obstacle they find another pair of stairs that circle around the room with the humans. Before they get ready to ambush the room with the humans Reven opens a side door with a wizard’s workshop and an alchemist lab.

Cautiously they close the door and investigate the room. Cora finds a dwarvish text that details about the Phaldelver’s Pact where dwarves and gnomes agreed to share a rich mine known as the Wave Echo Cave nearly 500 years ago. Human spellcasters allied with the dwarves to make the Forge of Spells and the town of Phandalin grew and prospered until an Orc attack destroyed the Mine, Forge, and most of the town.

Investigating the room they find a note from the Black Spider ordering Iarno Albrek to capture the dwarves and deliver their maps directly to him. They realize that Iarno Albrek, SIldar’s ally, is Glasstaff the leader of the Redbrand Gang.

A small rat seems to be scurrying around, and Reven chats it up and feeds it some rations.

Further investigation finds another connecting room which appears to be the wizard’s sleeping quarters with a chest. Reven and Cora investigate but Harlin finds a hidden door that leads to the cavern. Upon inspection he realizes a cloaked figure is escaping and calls the others.

They soon realize that it is Glasstaff trying to escape. They pursue the wizard, but Reven is stopped by the small rat. When he trys to help it up, it blasts him with a shocking grasp spell, realizing too late that it was Glasstaff’s familiar the small rat runs away.

They give chase back to the cistern through another secret door and find Glass staff, who actually had a glass staff. Looking through the cistern for something. When the party arrives he greats them, and offers them the opportunity to surrender.

The party fights Glass Staff, and are rejoined by Aeron who joins the battle. Cora finishes off the wizard. They stabilize the wizard and take him to Sildar. Once Iarno is in custody, the party decides to return to finish off the Redbrand gang.

When they return Harlin’s rope is broken and there is a commotion in the room. They see Redbrands and Bugbears engaged in combat. The party take advantage of this and engage. Selvrane releases a thunderwave killing the bugbear. Aeron throws his flaming hammer crushing the second bugbear. Cora orders the rest of the Redbrands to surrender, and Aeron breaks some kneecaps to shatter any ideas of resistance. Selvriane mends Harlin’s rope and presents it to him. He thanks her with a hug.

In the adjoining room they find a goblin named, Droop. They interrogate the goblin about the Black Spider and Cragmaw Castle. Droop doesn’t seem to know much, but offers information about raids nearby.

They escort the surviving Redbrands to the townhall and return to the inn for drinks and rest.

Chapter 4: Mark of the Lotus

A terrible howl tears through the silence of the night. Selvriane ripped from her sleep rolls from her bed and grabs her bow rushing towards the sound.

“Master Tengri?” she asks as she approaches silently. “Are you alright?”

She approaches her master’s lair, a massive dire wolf standing twice her height turns to her, with his eyes gazing at her, one golden yellow, the other blue as the sky.

“My child,” the dire wolf speaks, “Did I wake you?”

“It doesn’t matter,” She says and she lowers her bow. Master Tengri has raised her since as far back as she can remember. The old dire wolf has taught her how to survive deep within the Starwood of Cormanthor and taught her the druidic arts. Selvriane knows every line and rune on the old dire wolf’s fur and knows that something is troubling him. “Tell me what has happened, Master.”

“I have seen, darkness. It approaches…” Master Tengri says looking beyond her. “It is time. Come with me.”

The dire wolf leaps off his bed perch and begins to run. Selvriane leaps on his back grabbing his fur and pulling herself on his back as she has done since before she mastered walking. She holds on tight as he sprints through their lair, an old cave at the base of an ancient oak. Master Tengri once said it was an ancient temple, though it never seemed like anything more than home.

The dire wolf comes to a stop at a solid stone wall, he touches it with his paw and speak a word in Druidic. The runes on his fur flash an indigo light, and the wall creeks and opens. Fresh air bursts forward from the opening, and Tengri motions to enter.

As Selvriane walks down the cave she notices green vines that trace the walls and they begin emanating a blue light as she walks alongside it. The path leads to an opening which opens into a large circular cavern made of wood instead of stone. Upon further inspection it seems as if they were within a grand hollowed out tree. She notices grass at her feet and the mass of hair thin glowing vines hanging down from overhead, this place was teeming with life. A dais surrounded a pool of blue crystalline water stood at the center of this temple. All the vines in the cavern seem to gather upon it.

“Approach, my child.” Says Tengri as he sits next to the dais. Selvriane obeys her master and approaches. “This is the seed of the Renshintai, you must take accept this before your journey.”

Selvriane hesitates, “I’m not ready.”

“You are ready. It is time.” Her master reassures her.

Selvriane extends her left arm over the seed, a green glowing bulb. The hairlike strands dance around and over her hand, then her arm burns and the pain causes Selvriane to scream. The strands have plunged themselves into her palm and dig their way under her skin. Climbing and wrapping around her arm like ivy underneath her skin. Once the pain subsides she notices on her left arm a tattoo like marking of ivy from shoulder to palm. She feels faint, but forces herself to stay on her feet, she looks at her hand. There is no injury just the mark. On the dais the seed is gone.

“How do you feel?” asks Tengri.

“It hurts…” says Selvriane, “But I feel different.”

“When I received the seed I could not walk for four days. My master was ill for nearly a week.” Says the direwolf. “It has taken to you quickly. It is a rare thing.”

They begin to walk out of the temple, but Selvriane feels like the light has left this place and a sense of worry for this place washes over her as she walks out with her master. She rubs her arm absently trying to calm herself.

“The Lotus Circle is a small group of druids. The Renshentai seed is born once a generation and it has chosen you. As you grow in power, it will grow in power. As you learn, it too learns.” Says her Master.

“What of the journey, Master?” says Selvriane. “You said there was a journey.”
“You must travel west.” He pulls a pack of gear from behind a rock in the cavern. “Find a road, find some humans, people. Learn from them and the world outside the woods.”
“Yes, Master…” she picks up the pack noticing a bit of blood on the bag. She turns to gather her things and sort through the items. When she has gathered all her gear she walks out to meet her master.

Tengri holding an object in his maw presents it to her. She takes it, a black stone dagger with carved runes. “This blade has lost its power, maybe you can find a way to restore it, or just keep it to remember me.”

She turns the dagger over in her hand nervously. “When can I return, Master?”
“You will know when it is time,” says Tengri. “I fear you have lived with wolves for too long.”
Selvriane throws herself on the dire wolf giving him a hug. He returns the affection pressing his head to her own. “I will miss you, my child. Be safe.”

“I hope to return soon. Farewell Master.” Selvriane says as she walks from the cave.
She turns into a wolf and runs west, as the sun rises. As she runs through a grove of trees she is briefly blinded by the sun and finds herself elsewhere. Another forest, the sky is different. The smells are different.

She travels on for about five days before she finds a small structure. Selvriane makes her way inside and there are many eyes upon her a gray skinned elf with white hair and a small red bearded just smaller than her argue loudly about something.

Then a man approaches her and asks her name, and if she would like to join them. His name is Harlin and he introduces the others as his companions, Aeron, Reven, and Cora. They have dinner and play games, she finds herself laughing and enjoying their company. That evening Harlin explains that they are on a journey to deliver some goods up north, and if she would like to join them.

Selvriane gathers her things from her room and joins her companions for breakfast in the Stonehill Inn. As she meets the party her arms twitches and she notices her tattoo is moving on its own. Cora observes this and asks if she can touch it. Harlin watching this exchange asks if she is a Lotus druid. Selvriane says “Yes.”

Harlin comments that he’s never met one before and that she might be the most interesting woman he knows. Selvriane blushes and says “thank you.” She tries to make the vine come out, but only makes a flurry of flowers bloom. After eating breakfast and drinking some ale Selvriane’s tattoo seems to settle, Cora makes the observation that it likely reacts to her emotions. Which she seems to have slight control restored after she has eaten.

The group after breakfast decide to talk to Sildar to find more information on Cragmaw Castle and the Black Spider. Aeron tells the others to go on ahead, he has some more work to do at the inn. As they exit the notice a gallows being built. When they ask they inquire it seems that the captured Redbrands are to be publicly executed.

Sildar confirms that they will be executed as a show that law has returned to town and criminal activities going forward will be swiftly dealt with. They ask of Inaro and if he will be hanged as well, Sildar confirms that he plans to execute the wizard. They ask if they can speak with him before the execution and Sildar grants this request.

Inaro welcomes them as they enter and he is rather pleasant considering his fingers were broken by Aeron when he was captured. Reven explains that he is going to be executed and asks if he wants anything. Inaro says some tea would be lovely. Selvriane grows a flower in her hand and extends it, telling him that’s the best she can do. Reven knocks the flower out of her hand and crushes it with his foot telling her not to give him anything.

Inaro says that a flower is a sign of friendship and shouldn’t be mistreated. Reven, reacts as Selvriane makes a small hailstorm fall on him since he crushed her flower. After the commotion they realize Inaro is holding the flower in his hand. Reven states that doing things like that is going to make it hard to trust him.

Inaro nods and says he is willing to help them if they can convince Sildar to allow him a stay of execution so that he can be formally brought to trial in Neverwinter. If he is going to die it’s not going to be in this backwater hovel of a town, and if they succeed he will tell them everything about the Black Spider and who “he” is. Inaro says as he pets his rat familiar on his lap who was holding the flower.

They leave and discuss among themselves if they should bring this to Sildar. Cora is hesitant, believing this will be a mistake.

Sildar listens to the group and Inaro’s request, after a moment he seems frustrated at the request, but he does not deny it. He admits that Inaro is a ranked member of the Lord’s Alliance, and despite his feelings he is entitled to a trial. He tells them he will make arrangements to have him transported to Neverwinter.

Inaro seems pleased with their return and even more pleased by their news. Cora leads the interrogation and asks him some questions. Inaro tells them that the Black Spider is a male drow who has been working within the region trying to locate the Wave Echo Cave and the Forge of Spells. Any information on the dwarves including maps of their discoveries are to be sent to him.

The Cragmaw goblinoids are under his control and do as he commands. They have holed up in an old castle, but he doesn’t know where it is as Black Spider never shared this information with him. Since they raid the area outside of Phandalin it shouldn’t be too hard to find the Castle by tracking or interrogate some goblins.

He thanks them for their efforts as they depart and says he hopes he can repay their kindness one day. Cora is enraged by his smugness, but departs none the less.

Chapter 5: Finding the Trail

The party meets again with Sildar discussing the information gained from Inaro. He gives the party a map of the area that is marked where goblin raids have been reported. They split up to gather some supplies and see if there is any information about Gundren’s brothers before heading off.

The group heads to the Edermath Orchard and meet a silver haired elf named Daran who is the owner. He is a bit charming and offers them some apples and a some of his apple ale. He hasn’t heard about dwarves but he mentions some miners have been chased off by undead in the old Owl Well area. And if they are interested there might be some treasure and a reward for them. Cora pays him for his apples but the sly elf says that she can take two if they have a drink together when they return. Cora winks at him and agrees and gives Selvriane the second apple.

They next check with Quilene Alderleaf, a halfling who runs a local farm. She doesn’t have much information about the dwarves only that she has heard about their search. As for Cragmaw she tells them about a druid friend named Reidoth and where to find him. He may be able to tell them more since he knows the area better than anyone else.

Cora visits the Shrine of Luck as they prepare to head out. And the Sister Garaele ask her is they are interested in a job. There is a banshee in Conyberry forest, if they are able to lure her out by offerings of a gift and flattery she will answer a question, they are trying to learn the location of a spellbook. Cora says they are currently involved in a mission, but will consider helping them when they return.

Aeron joins the group looking pleased with himself and asks what’s the plan. Reven wants to head towards the Old Owl Well which will take them along the Triboar trail. Cora realizing it’s more than 10 miles away according to the map states the need for better transportation. Harlin heads off to find some horses.

When he returns he hands 20 gp to each of them complements of Halia for documents provided and has four horses that was loaned to them by the Miner’s exchange.

Harlin awkwardly steps up to Selvriane says “Hi” and wraps a belt around her waist. The belt has a dagger sheath and some pouches. Selvriane says, “Thanks.” And places her stone dagger in the sheath, her coins, and her apple in the pouch bags.

They travel about a mile down the trail when Harlin notices goblins setting up an ambush. They party attacks foiling the ambush. They capture one goblin and decide to interrogate it but he doesn’t speak common. Reven asks if anyone speak Goblin and Aeron replies, “Aye, I speak his language.” Smashing the goblin’s knee cap with his hammer.

The goblin howls in pain and begs for mercy in broken common. Cora initially horrified by his brutality can’t deny but the results. The goblin tells them his name is Ziku and his leader is King Grol of Cragmaw. He agrees to take them to the castle if they spare his life. Aeron agrees as long as he doesn’t try to run. Cora bandages the goblin and they make their way north.

Chapter 6: Assault on Cragmaw

Ziku true to his word leads the party to a fortress in the woods. Leaving their mounts behind they split up and investigate the area, Aeron remains behind with the goblin.

Cora and Selvriane circle around the south end while Reven and Harlin investigate the north. Cora and Selvriane in cat form find a door on the south end and hear arguing in a harsh language, likely goblins. Moving on they continue around the castle. Reven and Harlin find a path in the rubble and a curtain hiding entrance. When the ladies rejoin them they decide to investigate. They go to get Aeron who is sitting reading his spellbook. Ziku’s head smashed in and dead on the floor.

“What happened?” asked Reven.

Aeron shrugs, “He was trying to escape. I had ta put em down.”

“Really?” asked Cora.

“Ah, well he was thinking about it. I’m sure. What does it matter. Let’s go!” said the dwarf putting away his book.

They enter through the secret entrance follow one of the side paths. They come across two hobgoblins resting in a barracks. They decide to take them out quickly, Cora fires her bow the arrow plunging into the hobgoblin’s eye. Reven and Harlin press the attack on the second hobgoblin who reacts quickly parrying Reven and Harlin’s initial attack, but he wasn’t fast enough as Harlin drives his second short sword into his heart.

The make their way to what seems to be a dark hall, that may have once been a chapel. Aeron lights a brazier and they are set upon by a grick, a serpent like creature with a beak and four hideous tendrils with suckers and clawed tips. They attack, Reven and Cora firing their bows, but the creature is fast and evasive.

Cora fires again and misses. She hears a voice in her mind tell her, “Time to change tactics.” In response Cora draws her scimitar and heavily damages the creature. It moves away and Harlin finishes it off. Three goblins in the adjoining room join the fight but they are no match for the party. They finish them off and investigate further.

In the next room they find a storage room and a suit of chain mail and sword bearing the mark of Neverwinter. They suspect this may belong to Sildar and take it with them as well as a cask of good brandy which Silvriane sips and becomes rather drunk in cat form. Reven and Aeron find small a golden statue of a naked elven maiden. They argue about who gets to keep it but ultimately Reven wins.

Cora hears the voice again telling her “They are coming, be ready!”

Cora reacts warning the party and fires her arrow at the door as it bursts open striking down a charging hobgoblins. Aeron crushes another as two more goblins join the fight. Selvriane shifts back into half-elf form and casts thunderwave killing those caught in it’s blast.

One goblin runs away and Cora hears in her head, “Finish it off.”
She fires and it stumbles. Cora asks it, “Where is the dwarven prisoner.” The goblin says he will take them to him, to follow him.

Cora follows him with her bow drawn, but realizes it’s a trap as the floor falls out from under her dropping 30ft below, the goblin darts across the doorway but falls dead as Cora’s bow finds it. Going into the next room they are attacked by nine more goblin creatures, they fight.

Cora again hears in her head the voice saying, “You are outnumbered, what are you going to do?” She reacts by firing an hail of thorns hurting a few of the goblins cutting their numbers down. Harlin, Selvriane join the fight. Aeron circled around to the other side and struck down the goblin leader with magic missile he retreated.

Investigating they find a room with a few weapons which Aeron deems as unsuitable and advises them to leave it. Though Selivrane does find a well crafted quarterstaff made of an incredibly light wood and has decorative feathers on them. She takes this as her own.

They find a dark room where they suspect they will find Gundren. inside they find a angry owlbear that charges towards the door. Aeron gets knocked over as it charges through and Harlin pulls Selvriane away from the door as the beast runs past them desperately seeking its freedom. They investigate the chamber and find some potions and scrolls which they distribute.

Cora meditates and senses the presence of some humanoids. She leads the group in that direction when Cora kicks opens the door she finds a bugbear, a wolf, and an unconscious dwarf in the corner. She is suddenly struck by a female drow anticipating her approach. The blow in her abdomen nearly killing her she counters with a spell arrow which entangles the drow in vines. She fires another shot at the bugbear.

Harlin making his way in engages the Bugbear and Selvriane Thunderwaves the drow and bugbear throwing the drow free. The wolf knocks Selvriane prone and is struck the by bugbear. Aeron joins the fray striking the wolf with his hammer.

Reven unleashes a burst of flames from his hands, but the world melts away._ A woman with a golden cloak and a bow. She shooting at a shadow with streaks of light firing into the shadow. She is elven with a deep scar on her face. She looks at Reven and yells, “Wake up, boy!”_ Reven is stunned shaking away the disorientation of his vision.

Cora fires passed Reven striking the drow. Harlin finishes off the wolf. While Selvriane picks herself up and attacks the Bugbear with her staff. Aeron flanking the Bugbear roars as he brings down his flaming warhammer on its skull.

The drow rolls behind Aeron and emerges looking just like him and strikes him with a warhammer. Cora fires her bow at the second Aeron killing him dead. His body warps into a silver skinned humanoid, a doppleganger.

Aeron checks on the dwarf and it is Gundren, he has been badly beaten. Selvriane casts a healing spell on the dwarf comes too. Aeron talks to the dwarf and reassures him that things will be fine. They rest for an hour to regain their strength before moving on.

As they prepare to head out the door is knocked down and two wolves charge towards Aeron. The dwarf throws throws them off of him and an arrow breaks off his chain mail. Reven and Harlin finish off the two wolves but take cover from the hobgoblin archers.

The hobgoblins charge into the room to attack, but retreat under the cover of arrow fire. The party is pinned down. Selvriane throws her thorn whip and latches onto the leader pulling him into the room. Harlin drives his short swords into him killing him.

Reven moves in front of Selvriane and fires his bow as does Cora. Harlin charges down the hallway taking arrow in the shoulder, he pushes on and cuts down the archer. Aeron finishes another with magic missile and Reven using his sword lops off the head of the last hobgoblin.

They leave the Cragmaw Castle and make their way to their mounts and into the woods doing their best to cover their tracks. They set up camp and rest for the night. Harlin and Selvriane play cards and she scatters Harlin’s cards when attempting to show him a spell. Harlin says that the deck belonged to his grandmother and gathers up the cards. Selvriane apologizes and helps him find the missing cards in the dark.

Cora taking first watch sits in a high perch in a tree. She hears the voice call to her, “You must protect the boy.” She turns to look at a sleeping Reven and wonders what the voice means.

Chapter 7: The Benefits of Physical Contact

Selvriane taking second watch hears screaming in the distance. She wanders towards the sound and finds Cora away from camp and is screaming in her sleep. The young druid touches Cora and tries to sit her up and wake her. Cora on reflex attacks Selvriane with a knife. Selvriane avoids the attack and begins to leave, but Cora stirs awake.

Cora realizing what happened apologizes to her, Selvriane assures her that she is fine and everything is alright. Cora asks for her not to mention it to the others and Selvriane promises she will not. Cora prepares breakfast and they make their way to Phandalin.

Gundren tells the party that his brothers are waiting at the opening of the Echo cave and he hopes that they are safe. He mentions about the Forge of Spells and the riches of the mines. When asked he doesn’t have any information on the Black Spider.

They make it back to Phandalin by that afternoon. When they return to the Stonehill Inn, the party notices an etching on the floor that looks somewhat like the sign of the Stonehill Inn, but there seems to be runes hidden within. Aeron proudly says that it’s a rune trap that he placed on the door for the bar keep. It’s for keeping out intruders like the Red Brands.

Reven ask how does it work. And Aeron says by command word which only he and the barkeep know. Reven asks what happens if someone accidentally says the command word. Aeron laughs saying it’s unlikely, but it will be a bad day for whoever’s standing on that spot.

Aeron and Gundren sit down and drink some ale and order some food. The others return Sildar’s gear for which he is thankful and let him know that Gundren is back. He is glad to hear this information and thanks them for their efforts. He tells them that he plans to visit Gundren soon. Cora asks about Inaro, and Sildar says that he’s already been transported to Neverwinter.

They return to the inn Aeron tells Reven that he gave up his room when he started bunking with him, but Gundren is gonna be needing the bed. Reven asks if he can bunk with Harlin, and he says he doesn’t mind. And off handily ask Selvriane if he would mind if he sleeps with her, she says sure. Surprised by the answer he offers his room to Reven.

Harlin, Cora, and Selvriane play cards for drinks that night. Aeron joins the game and dominates the game. They have a fun night and retire for the evening. Harlin and Selvriane go to sleep together, when she joins him in bed she assumes cat form and nestles between his legs. Harlin laughs, pets Selvriane and goes to bed. Though when the wild shape wears off a few hours later the naked half elf sleeping between his legs makes it a difficult night for Harlin to get through.

Reven sleeps in Harlin’s room and goes to sleep. Cora sneaks into the room after Reven has fallen asleep. She amuses herself by tying his boots together, then takes off her weapons and armor leaving only a sleeping shirt. Quietly she slips into bed with Reven and works her way into his arms as he sleeps and falls asleep with a impish grin. It’s a few hours later when Reven wakes and realizes he is holding Cora in his arms. He blushes and panics wondering how this happened. He awkwardly makes his way out of bed trying to be quiet, trying to distract himself he takes out Talin, looks out the window and begins cleaning his sword. Cora seeing what happened smirks and goes back to sleep.

When Cora does walk up he teases Reven. He is very awkward and embarrassed leaves the room in a panic. After a few moments he realizes he left his armor and sword inside and he goes back to find Cora naked changing her clothes. Cora covers up while Reven blushes and leaves without his armor. He apologizes and leaves, but not before noticing that Cora has a tattoo on her back which he could not make out.

Cora comes down for breakfast Reven is sitting awkwardly quietly eating. Cora drops Reven’s chain mail and says you forgot this. Which prompts a chuckle from Aeron and Gundren.

Cora ask Selvriane about her night with Harlin, who happened to be missing and asked if anything happened. Selvriane seems confused and asks what she means. Cora mentions sex and how it is fun, and doesn’t have to be about mating or just one mate for life. And there are other nice things to do like kissing or holding hands. Selvriane thinks on this and holds Cora’s hand and smiles saying that she does enjoy it.

Aeron seeing the girls holding hands chuckles and mentions to Reven that it seems he did something wrong. Reven tells Aeron he doesn’t know what he’s talking about.

Harlin comes down soon and says hello to everyone, when he sits across from Reven he asks how’d he sleep. Reven nervously responds, “What do you mean? Fine, of course it was fine?”
The two nervously go back and forth about how everything was ok.

The girls excuse themselves and go to the general store for some Nara root, which is used as a birth control. Cora advises it’s best to take this if you are not planning on having children and if you are having fun. They get the root, some wine skins, and some bread for the road. Cora ask Selvriane if she can call her by a shorter name, and they settle on Rianne.

Harlin and Reven also go for a walk and get some supplies as well as see if can extend the lease of their horses. Gundren wants to go, but Aeron insists that he needs to rest. He has the dwarf show him the route to the Wave Echo Cave and they set out before long.

Chapter 8: Wave Echo Cave

The party arrives not long after noon.

(TBC)

Chapter 9: Fractured Time

Chapter 10: Seeds of Life

Chapter 11: Neverwinter

Chapter 12: Stolen Destinies

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