The Redbrands Last Stand

Danak and Never still unconscious, the group delves deeper into the forest. Mirna, Nilsa, and Nars are eager to get back to town, but Liarel convinces them to be patient. Once we’ve settled into a small grove, Mella casts goodberry to wake Danak and Never and heal Liarel and themself. Mirna tells the group that she and her family were taken several days ago and she thinks they were to have been sold into slavery. Danak asks some insensitive questions about Thel. Through his hysterical sobbing Mirna confirms that he was killed in the street.

The group decides to take the family to Daran’s for safe keeping until we’ve dealt with the rest of the Redbrands. We walk around town to avoid drawing attention to ourselves. On the way, Danak talks to Nars about the “adventure” he just had. Nars says he knew several of his captives from around town, that they were ruffians before they organized. Mirna says it seems like Glasstaff stays in the hideout.

Daran comes out to meet the group and ushers everyone inside. As Daran begins to care for the family the rest of us rest and clean up. Liarel keeps watch out the window to make sure the Redbrands don’t sneak up on us. Mella opens the leather bundle to find a cloth wrapped sword. It’s hilt is in the shape of a bird with outstretched wings and it has the word “Talon” written on the sheath. We remember hearing about a knight named Aldith Tresender who died fighting orcs. He was also known as The Black Hawk and we wager that the sword could have been his. Never detects magic and the sword glows purple with transmutation magic.

Liarel notices someone coming and warns the group. Daran says he put up a post in Neverwinter and that the person approaching could be coming in response to that. Daran goes out to meet the approaching half-orc, confirming that she is from Neverwinter looking to take a job. Daran rushes her inside and the group is introduced to Alada. Daran tells her that he was looking to send someone up to the Old Owl well, that that we could use her help in town first. Alada tells us she was a sailor and that her old boss was a real asshole. She’s up to anything as long as she gets paid. Mella gives her the Talon.

After a bit we leave Daran’s. Danak and Alada head to the Lion Shield to sell the extra short swords we picked up in the hideout and Liarel, Mella, and Never head to the general store to sell Liarel’s rubies and stock up on supplies. After running errands the group reconvenes at the Sleeping Giant. Once inside, Alada immediately buys a keg and downs it. Grista tells us that no one else has been by yet and Danak pays her to clean up the blood on the floor.

We make our way back to the Stone Hill Inn where Danak buys two additional rooms so the whole group can rest. As the rest of the group retire to their rooms, Mella decides to hang around the common area to see if they can overhear anything important. Once it gets sufficiently late and everyone else has left, Mella hears a voice in their head, “Where is my sword? You gave it away? you gave away my sword! It’s here in this inn!”

Mella, wanting to avoid getting in trouble with Danak, decides to go upstairs and consult with Never before doing anything. As they make their way to the stairs the voice continues to nag them for the sword, telling them to bring it outside. Mella thinks “Ooh, is the sword your weakness? Can I kill you with it?” and they promptly see a green beam coming through the window toward them. They feel a pull at their lifeforce but resist. They eye at the window disappears as they head up the stairs. The voice gives Mella ten minutes to come out with the sword.

Mella wakes Never up and explains the situation to her. Never tells them to wake the rest of the group but Mella refuses, not wanting to deal with Danak. Mella tries to suggest an alternative, but Never ignores them and leaves the room to knock as loudly as possible on Danak’s door. Liarel overhears and comes out into the hallway as Never says that the Eye Monster is back. The whole group (including a thoroughly sloshed Alada) heads downstairs to fight the Eye.

Alada hears “You have my sword”, thinks it’s just the alcohol. A green beam then comes through the window and attaches to her. She feels freezing cold and slumps down, her skin starting to sag before the beam disappears. Liarel unbars the front door. Anther beam comes through the window, this time attaching to Danak, who weakens. The beam disappears and Danak hurls a dagger at the window the monster appeared in.

Liarel and Never run outside and around opposite corners of the building, neither sees the monster. At the open door, Alada brandishes the sword and slurs something meant to draw the monster out of hiding. Mella follows Liarel and Danak follows Never. Around the back end of the inn Never notices that the door to the stables is open and calls for everyone to come around back before peering in. The horses are noticeably agitated. She spots the monster hiding and misses it with a witch bolt, scaring the horses as a green beam comes toward her. She shakes it off and the monster runs out the stables’ side door onto the street.

Liarel seem the monster run out and misses it with an arrow before confirming its location for the rest of the group. Danak rushes up behind the monster and Alada comes up to its front, raging at it. It lashes out at her with its claws. Mella turns into a panther. Danak strikes the monster with his axe. Never hits the monster with an eldrich blast as Alada, still completely hammered, swings wildly and takes a chunk out of a nearby post. The monster runs past Danak and Mella gives chase.

Danak catches up to the monster and swings his axe down upon its shoulder as Liarel runs around and blocks its path. Alada tries to jump over the panther, but stumbles leaving both herself and Mella prone. Danak slams into it once more and it collapses. Mella makes sure it’s dead and buries it. We make our way back into the inn, re-bar the door, and sleep until noon.

The next day we can’t find Ornella anywhere. Danak offers to pay for everyone’s breakfast and Mella vehemently rejects the offer, saying they don’t want to owe anybody anything. After breakfast we head to the Sleeping Giant to find it closed. We knock, but there is no answer so we decide to make out way to the thicket. We make our way into the cavern where Danak promptly runs right into a guard. Without wasting any time the guard runs down a passage to the left calling out “They’re back!” Danak follows downstairs to a hallway and into the leftmost door. He sees a barracks with the guard, a small, abused-looking goblin, and three large, furry humanoids. The goblin sees Danak and passes out. One of the large creatures has a jeweled eye patch.

The rest of the group catches up as Danak hits Patches with his axe. Alada flies into a rage and slams into Patches as Never hits him with an eldrich blast. Patches barks something in a language we don’t understand. Mella turns into a rat and scurries into the corner of the room. One of the large humanoids bashes Danak on the head with a club. He collapses.

Liarel hears the door at the other end of the hallway open and sees three cloaked figures come out. She shoots one, causing him to stumble back into the others. Liarel casts thunderwave at the Redbrands in the hallway, knocking them back. Never hits one of them with eldrich blast, causing him to fall.

Mella returns to elf form and casts sacred flame on the Redbrand in the barracks. Alada strikes one of the humanoids with her great sword, cutting through his shield and hitting him in the chest, causing him the stumble back dead. The Redbrand grazes Mella with an attack.

In the hallway one of the Redbrands manages to hit himself before the other strikes Liarel with his short sword. Liarel rushes into the barracks to cure Danak’s wounds. Alada slashes at another of the creatures with her broad sword and the Redbrand hits Mella twice with his short sword. The creature swings at Alada, making contact. In the hallway one of the Redbrands slashes at Never.

Danak gets up and hacks at Patches with his axe. The Redbrand stabs Mella, who falls. The two creatures strike at Alada, who barely manages to stay up. Danak swings at Patches, killing him. Liarel produces flame, hitting one of the hallway Redbrands. Never trips trying to avoid Liarel as she swings her mace at the Redbrands. Alada strikes the remaining creature and it promptly slips in a puddle of blood. Danak kills the Redbrand in the barracks as Liarel heals Mella. Never finally bashed one of the hallway Redbrands with her mace, killing him.

The remaining creature runs out of the room, taking off up the stairs, and the remaining Redbrand turns and runs through the door at the end of the hall, closing it behind him.

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As the druid in the doorway chants, grass and roots begin to rise up, trapping Mondross and Elgian. Blights burst out onto the veranda, but Olana casts Shatter, destroying twelve of them and hitting the druid. Elmer casts Fireball, killing the druid, the rest of the blights near the veranda and setting the blight debris alight. The entire veranda is engulfed in flames.

Corrina runs up to the loading dock and shoots at the remaining shrubs before hiding behind a barrel. Elgian rushes to the loading dock and begins climbing up the rope hanging down from the loading crane, heading toward a hole in the ceiling. As Elgian comes up to the room above the loading dock he sees another druid.

Back by the veranda, shrubs from the fields launch thorns from all sides, hitting Mondross and Ada. From her hiding place on the loading dock Corrina hears a sound similar to brush blowing in the wind coming from a nearby door. Above, Elgian’s druid runs out of the room. Mondross casts sleep at a cluster of blights, causing three of them to root into the ground, motionless. Olana runs toward the loading dock, destroying another shrub with firebolt.

Elmer walks toward the field shrubs in as stately a manner as possible, loudly witnessing to them as he channels divinity, destroying twelve. Ada cuts one of the remaining blights in half before being struck by another, then runs to the loading dock. In the room above the loading dock, Elgian runs after the druid, following him down a spiral ramp. At the bottom of the ramp he sees an open door on the left, past which there is yet another druid, several more blights, and two vine monsters. Elgian wildly stabs at one of the druids and trips him before being riddled with thorns.

Outside, Elmer, Olana, and Mondross are all hit with thorns. Mondross heals himself before finding a new hiding spot under the walkway. Olana runs up to the door by the loading dock and sees the scene with Elgian. Elmer casts burning hands on the remaining exterior blights, destroying two and setting the third ablaze. Ada runs up alongside Olana and hits the standing druid with an arrow. Elgian stabs and trips the other druid. The druid stands and hits Elgian lightly with his staff. As the staff makes contact it starts to bleed slightly and Elgian feels his life force drain. The druid’s wounds heal.

Modross strikes up through the floorboards of the walkway, causing a blight to collapse. Elmer destroys the remaining field blight with his mace. Corrina climbs the rope, entering the room above the loading dock, then follows Elgian’s path down the ramp. Ada stabs the druid with the Sun Sword and he collapses. Elgian grabs the fallen druid’s staff, hits one of the plant monsters, and feels a sudden surge of energy. His eyes then go wide with fear, he drops the staff and runs off.

A blight strikes Ada with thorns as vines grab at her face and drag her to the ground. Outside, Elmer hears a door open behind him, revealing another druid who hits him with a thunderwave. Mondross makes his way up to the loading dock door and kills a blight with his rapier. Olana casts shatter into the room, injuring several monsters but also hitting Corrina, who collapses. Elmer strikes his druid with his mace.

Elgian continues to run.

The vine creature lets go of Ada and tries to grab Mondross, who avoids its grasp. Mondross picks up the Sun Sword and attacks a blight, destroying it. He then stabs the vine creature with his rapier, killing it.

Elgian keeps running.

Outside, a flock of ravens burst out of the open door and attack the druid fighting Elmer, killing him. Elmer takes a moment to mock the druid’s life decisions. Ireena rushes through loading dock door and stabilizes Ada as Mondross heals himself. Olana casts ray of sickness on the remaining vine creature and it withers and melts into an ooze on the floor. Elmer destroys a blight with sacred flame as Mondross slices through another with the Sun Sword. The area seems clear of enemies.

Elgian runs.

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As we make out way out of Argynvostholt’s backmost tower we notice that the door leading out onto the roof has been closed behind us. We throw the beam which would have been used to lock the door off over the roof. We make our way to the last unexplored portion of the mansion on the third floor. We open the door onto a spacious chamber containing a large table, around which are six chairs. In five of the chairs are skeletal figures who ask, “Why do the living disturb the dead?”

Corrina steps forward and asks how we can help them, to which they reply that we cannot. They say they await commands from their leader, Vladmir Horngrad (who we assume to be the gaunt figure with the broadsword) and that if we truly wish to help them that we will first hep the restless spirit of Argynvost. They say the battle took place in the valley below but they don’t know if the bones would still be there. They also ell us that Strahd was not a vampire when they fought him. When Strahd became a vampire they rose from the dead to fight him.

As we talk to Sir Godfried Gwilyn, Olana notices that there is a shield-shaped patch above the mantle. She asks about it, but Sir Gwilyn says that he had not noticed it was gone. We are given permission to check the next room over, it is a bedroom with a stuffed bear and direwolf. We thank the seated figures for their time and leave. Ireena gets the impression that its impossible for spirits to leave Barovia.

We decide to make out way to the Wizard of Wines. On our way we come across the same broken signpost from before. This time we head in the direction marked “Kresk”. As we walk we notice a leather wrapped bundle buried under some leaves. We investigate to find it packed with a set of clothes and we put it back as it was. Ada finds a black feather under a leaf nearby and pockets it. It occurs to Corrina that the ravens she spoke to in Villaki seemed much more intelligent than the ravens in the tower.

We come upon a trail veering off the main road, horse and wagon tracks traveling down it. There are also several large wolf tracks going in both directions down the trail. Olana makes us a magic hut to rest in which comes out in the shape of a mausoleum. Inside are several crypts, each marked with one of our names. Elmer notices that Olana’s spellbook looks oddly like a necronomicon and is bleeding slightly before crawling into the cubby marked with his name.

As we rest we notice that Elmer’s shadow is moving on its own, coming up out of the cubby and peering at us. When we notice it it quickly returns to its rightful spot. This happens a few more times before it finally comes up and reaches for Elmer’s throat. Corrina startles it and it returns to normal.

Leaving the mausoleum, we continue down the main road, eventually coming upon a signpost. We head in the direction marked Wizard of Wines. On the way we notice a tattered yellow flag caught in a tree. Olana recognizes it as a merchant flag from a ship outside of Barovia. Elgian wears it as a cape.

We eventually come upon a huge vineyard and see a man in a dark cloak and cowl. He motions for us to be quiet as we approach and he asks who we are. We say we met Myrel Vinsha in Berez and that we know the Martikov’s from Villaki (for whom he shows some disdain). He leads us into the forest, out of view of the building by the vineyard and says he is Davian Martikov, the owner of the vineyard. He says the building was overrun by four or five evil druids and their blights. He speculates that the want to stop him from making wine as it is one of the few joys available to the people of Barovia.

We decide to investigate before continuing forward. Elmer uses a scroll to turn Ada invisible and she follows Corrina who stealths ahead to the vineyard. Once they are about 100 feet away from the group five plant creatures move out from a row in the vineyard and fling thorns at Corrina, who collapses.

The rest of the group rushes forward, Elmer hitting the creatures with fireball, destroying them. Ada stabilizes Corrina, who wakes. Mondross heals Corrina as twenty-five more plant creatures approach the group. Corrina hurls a firebolt at a cluster of creatures and Olana cast shatter on another before the entirety of the group rushes towards the side of the building. Once closer to the building we can see the loading dock which contains three large wooden tubs, a set of sliding doors and a smaller door. The sliding doors open to reveal a crazed looking druid and a room full of small woody shrub like  blights.

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How Not to Bake an Apple Pie

Back at the inn, Danak rents a room and to leave his things in. Ornella stays behind as Never and Liarel head off to watch the secret passageway to the Redbrands’ hideout while Danak and Mella go to meet Hollia Thorton at the miners’ exchange.

At the miners’ exchange Danak and Mella meet Hollia, who seems largely uninterested in them until Danak boasts that we have already faced off against several Redbrands and (he says) sent them running. She tells them not to bother with the rest of the Redbrands and to instead go directly for Glasstaff, their leader. She believes that without their leader they will cease to be an issue. She also tells them that if they happen to find any correspondence of Glasstaff’s and bring it to her after he’s been dealt with, she’d be willing to pay them 100 gold. She is unable to give them any new information about the Redbrands besides mentioning that they have a goblin minion with them under Transcender Manor’s ruins.

Meanwhile, Liarel and Never make their way to the thicket hiding the secret entrance to the Redbrands’ lair. Once there they settle into hiding spots in the tree line. Never tries desperately not to chat and Liarel tries not to be distracted by bunnies.

Danak and Mella decide to go “sight-seeing” at the Transcender Manor ruins. As they approach they notice several sets of human-sized tracks coming and going from the manor, implying a front entrance to the hideout. Wandering around a bit, they happen upon a set of stairs heading downward to a door. Mella opens the door onto a cellar with a cistern, several barrels, and two doors. Mella and Danak each listen at a door, Mella noticing a slight cough sound behind theirs.

Danak decides that they’ve completed their goal in touring the manor and that it is time to return to the rest of the group so we can proceed together. Mella, however, is insistent that they check out the barrels, believing that the Redbrands are smugglers. Danak says they can check out the barrels later, once the whole group comes back. Mella grows increasingly impatient with being told what to do and pulls a spike from their bag to try prying open a barrel. Danak tries to grapple Mella but Mella (barely) breaks free and busts open the top of the closest barrel with a loud crack. Three Redbrands come out from behind the far door. Danak notices them and tries to pretend to be drunk. Mella remains focused on the apples, thinking perhaps there are gems inside. They take a big bite out of one of the apples. It was real delicious.

Realizing they’ve been seen, the Redbrands attack, first striking Mella who retaliates with their staff, then barely scratching Danak who strikes back with his axe. Mella casts thunderwave, knocking back two of the Redbrands and breaking open several barrels. Rations spill out of the barrels including, incidentally, flour which bursts out into the room, filling the air and covering everything and everyone. The third Redbrand is knocked into the cistern and does not move again.

One of the Redbrands slips on a stray apple, missing Danak, but another rushes up and strikes Danak twice. Danak wildly swings at his assailants as Mella backs up to the cellar entrance. Danak blocks an attack from one Redbrand as another strikes him in the head. Mella rushes outside, not seeing Danak fall. They wait outside for a bit before calling for Danak as loud as they can.

By the thicket, Liarel and Never hear Mella call for Danak and immediately get up and run in the direction of their voice. Mella, meanwhile, runs toward the thicket looking for help. As they all approach each other Mella begins shouting about what happened. Liarel smacks Mella in the face with a cure wounds as aggressively as possible and Mella leads the way back to the cellar.

Back in the cellar the small group notices one Redbrand floating face down in the cistern and drag marks heading through the rightmost door. We open the door onto a hallway and Liarel leads the way inside, being careful to walk as close as possible to the footprints already in the room. Never, oblivious, doesn’t follow the tracks and as she makes her way down the hallway the floor collapses out from under her, landing her in a pit. Never climbs up out of the pit and rejoins Liarel and Mella at the end of the hall.

Opening the door at the end of the hallway we see a room with sarcophagi and three humanoid skeletons clad in rusted chain-mail. Never pokes at the skeletons with mage hand as Liarel begins to walk into the room. They don’t react until Liarel make it to the center of the room, at which point the come to life and attack.

A skeleton grazes Liarel’s arm with an old sword and she strikes back with her staff, bones crumbling away from the attack. Mella smashes another skeleton in the eyesocket and it completely shatters. The remaining skeletons strike at Liarel and Never before Never destroys one with her mace and Mella takes out the other with their staff. Liarel makes a point of shattering the skulls with her staff before we proceed to the next room.

Liarel leads us through the next door, which opens onto a dungeon. To the right are a pair of women in a cell, to the left is a boy in a cell and a slumped figure on the floor. hiding against the wall are two more Redbrands. They attack and two more Redbrands covered in flour come from behind the door.

One of the Redbrands slash at Liarel and Never retaliates with Witch Bolt. Liarel casts entangle, capturing the Redbrands, and ducks at Mella hurls a handful of fire at one of the Redbrands, hitting them squarely in the face, causing them to collapse. Another Redbrand tears at the vines around their feet and stabs Liarel twice. She falls and the vines begin to recede. Never sends out a second wave of Witch Bolt, killing one Redbrand, as Mella strikes the one standing over Liarel with their staff. Liarel wakes and throws fire upward, taking out the Redbrand. Mella hit the remaining Redbrand with their staff and he falls.

Liarel searches the Redbrands’ bodies for keys to the cells but finds none. Never somehow manages to pick the lock on the cell holding the two women with a fork. They cower in fear of her, so she backs away as Liarel enters the cell to try and comfort them. They speak of a big furry monster with large ears. There are Thel’s wife (Mirna) and daughter (Nilsa). The boy is their son and brother (Nars), respectively.

Trying to pick the lock to the other cell, Never breaks her fork and Mella breaks a sword they picked up from the Redbrands. Never tries Eldrich Blast, but this also fails damage the lock enough to destroy it. Mella hears voices coming from outside. We disguise ourselves, the women, the boy, and Danak’s unconscious body in red cloaks and Liarel goes off to investigate the voices. She finds them in the cellar, at least six voices, one of which was scruffy and inhuman. They are arguing about going to investigate the commotion coming from the dungeon. Liarel sneaks back. Mella finally breaks open the lock with a spike and the boy rushes out. We grab Danak as we hear four voices begrudgingly approach and we leave the dungeon, heading further into the hideout.

We enter another hallway. There is a locked door to the right, but a well-traveled patch of ground heading into the left wall reveals a secret door. We open it and head through into a room with barrels and empty crates. Mella starts trying to collect stuff as the rest of us proceed without them, but they manage to catch up as we head through the open wall to the south.

Never leads the way into a cold natural cavern, a rough wooden bridge spanning a crevasse. The smell of decaying flesh fills the air. We begin to head south, but Never is stopped by a voice in her head. “Yes, demon one. What are you doing here? You bring me flesh? Give me the little one…you’re no demon. You’re good. I hates you!” As Never stops we notice a hunched figure with a large green eye across the crevasse. Never mentally asks “is that you?” and the eye vanishes.

Mella then hears a voice in their head, “Why are you here? You came to feed me? Give me flesh.” Mella tries to bargain with the voice, offering it freedom instead. “I’m already free. Free to feast.” Mella tries to negotiate giving up the boy for safe passage fro the cavern, but the voice doesn’t make any such promises. The eye monster appears again, this time green energy emanating from its eye. Mella feels their energy drain, but shakes it off. The green glowing energy disappears.

Mella and Never fill in the group and we all ready our weapons. Liarel looses and arrow and Never strikes the monster with witch bolt. It rushes across the bridge and slashes at Never, who falls unconscious, then it strikes Mella. Mella and Liarel hurl fire at it as it again emits green energy from its eye at the boy Nars but he also seems to resist. As Mella hits it with another burst of flame it runs back across the crevasse and disappears behind a pillar. Mella tries to follow, but the bridge gives way beneath them. They fall into the crevasse and the bridge lands on their head, knocking them out. Liarel hears voices coming from the dungeon and throws flame at the monster again. It runs off.

Mella wakes as Liarel and the women collect Danak and Never and begin to proceed across the crevasse. Mella spots a chest which contains coins, scrolls, potions, and a leather wrapped bundle. They pocket the potions and bundle before catching up with the group. We hear a general commotion coming from the dungeon as we proceed. We continue through the passageway out through the thicket. Liarel leads the group into the forest to hide.

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The people of Phandalin

Danak, Mella, Liarel, and Never wake at the Stone Hill Inn to find a note from Raslin explaining that he will no longer be travelling with them. The remaining members of the group make their way downstairs to find Sildar. Never approaches him and asks how he’s doing. He says he is feeling much better and that he plans to go speak with Phandalin’s mayor after breakfast. Danak sidles up and begins discussing plans for Phandalin’s development. Sildar reveals that he is here to establish order as part of the Lord’s Alliance. Sildar tells us to meet him back at the inn in the afternoon for our payment as he must first secure a loan.

Liarel and Mella ask Toblen about places to buy provisions and such in town. He recommends Barthen’s Provisions for most things and the Lionshield Coaster for weapons and armor. The group reconvenes to discuss what we’ve heard about the Redbrands. Ornella overhears and approaches us. She asks us if we know where they are and Toblen says they can most often be found at the Sleeping Giant tavern. Danak and Ornella exchange a few quick threats and it is agreed that we will face the Redbrands together.

Liarel slips out to visit the ox in the stables and runs into Pip, the innkeepers’ son. He is quite excited to meet a “real adventurer” and tells hr about his friend Carp, a halfling child who also wants to be an adventurer. Apparently Karp had found a secret passageway and almost gotten caught by the Redbrands. After they talk, Liarel takes the caravan around to the front of the inn.

Danak, Liarel, Mella, and Never head out, making their way to Barthen’s Provisions to drop off the caravan. Once there we are paid our promised ten gold each and Danak tries to negotiate for the sale of the goblin weapons we picked up along the way. We are told to try selling them to the Lionshield. We discuss selling the jade frog but Never examines it and notices a bright yellow aura, the color of conjuration. She says we should hold onto it for now but decides against saying more in front of strangers.

Barthen says that Gundren’s brothers should be coming back into town soon, they are camped out in the hills somewhere and have not stopped in for supplies in about a tenday. He is surprised to have not seen Gundren already. Danak asks about thieves and we told what we already know about the Redbrands. He also tries to subtly ask about Kragmaw Castle, but Barthen has not information for us. Liarel buys some rations and a healer’s kit and Never asks about buying ration ingredients. Barthen says to try Alderleaf farm (run by Carp’s family) for herbs and spices.

As we leave Barthen’s Provisions Never fills the group in about the frog (And pockets it?) and Mella wanders off to the Shrine of Luck. Once there they see a young elf, Sister Garaele dressed as a scholar who gives them Tymora’s blessing. Mella says they heard about her recent trip from Narth and decided to come see her because they do not know many other elves. As they talk she reveals that she was out looking for information about the location of the spellbook of the legendary mage Bowgentle. She says that a Banshee named Agatha (near Conyberry) should know where it is and would be willing to tell given enough flattery and the proper gift (which she indicates she has). Garaele would be willing to pay three healing potions for the information. Mella says they’ll think about it and Garaele says to come back before they leave if they decide to go.

The whole group meets up at the shrine (donating a silver each) before making their way to the Lionshield Coster. We recognize the shop’s symbol from the crates in the goblin caves. The woman behind the counter greets us brusquely. She seems thoroughly unimpressed when Danak tries to sell her the weapons, but she offers us ten gold for them regardless. She warms up to us when we tell her that we found some of her crates. She says she had had a shipment go missing and would pay us fifty gold for a map to the cave. We agree, asking if she would like some help retrieving her goods as there were still goblins there. She said to check back in a few days to see if she wanted our help.

We buy some weapons and ask about Cragmaw Castle. She says that Daran Edermath might know and we are directed to his orchard. Once at the orchard we are greeted by a half-elf who asks what we’re doing in town. Ornella says we came to deal with the Redbrands. After we are welcomed inside and go through a round of introductions Daran says he wants the Redbrands out of town (he is not particularly specific about how this is to be done). He tells us they seem to have a leader named Glasstaff and a safe-house under Tresendar Manor. He has seen six, but estimates that there may be about a dozen. He also asks us to check out the ruins of Old Owl Well after dealing with the Redbrands. He has heard disturbing reports of Prospectors being chased off by Undead near Old Owl Well and gives us directions to find it. It is a couple days march northeast of Phandalin.

We have some cider with Daran and Danak asks bout the town master. Daran says his name is Harbin Wester and he is not much of a leader. Danak asks about any other people of note and Daran mentions Halia Thornton, who runs the Miner’s Exchange, and Qualina, who runs Aldreleaf Farm. We decide to go to Alderleaf Farm next.

Upon arriving at the farm we are greeted somewhat cautiously by Qelline. Never immediately launches into a conversation with her about herbs and ends up buying enough for fifty days of rations. Liarel runs into Carp, says she met Pip, and tells him of her adventures. He seems quite impressed and tells her about the secret passageway he found. After getting the directions to the passageway, Liarel turns into a mastiff and gives Karp a ride around the farm. Danak and Ornella decide we should try going to the Sleeping Giant before we meet the Redbrands on their own turf. When we ask about Cragmaw Castle we are told to try asking Reidoth in Thundertree.

We make our way to the Sleeping Giant. It looks fairly run down. Four humans wearing grimy scarlet cloaks stand outside on the porch. Never approaches them and says hi. They call us a pack of puppies and block the door. They ask us what we want and Ornella says we want drink. They say the tavern is private and we should try somewhere else, one of them spitting on the ground in front of us. Liarel turns back into an elf and glares at them. Danak punches the one who spit.

Never tries to charm one of them but fails. Ornella indicates her rapier and tries intimidating them, but this also fails and they all draw their weapons. Liarel attempts to hit one with her quarterstaff but strikes the porch’s support beam instead. Ornella slashes at one with her rapier.

Mella steps forward and unleashes thunderwave, slamming all four back into the tavern wall (breaking the railing in the process) and knocking the one Danak had punched unconscious. As the get us one of them slashes at Danak, grazing his arm, and another stabs Mella. Danak punches the Redbrand who attacked him and they collapse. Liarel strikes another with her quarterstaff, first in the knee and then again in the head. They also collapse. Ornella takes out the remaining Redbrand.

Ornella manacles the first to fall unconscious as Liarel notices that the rest are dead. Danak looks inside, seeing a surly female dwarf and no one else. We drag the bodies inside and Liarel stabilizes the bound Redbrand. Danak loots the bodies and gathers their cloaks while Never tries to talk to the barkeep, who gives only curt responses. Danak negotiates with the barkeep (Grista) to have her spy on the remaining Redbrands for us and we leave with the bodies.

After we make our way to a ruins outside of town, Mella buries the bodies to the best of their ability. Once the bound Redbrand comes to Danak, Ornella, and Never try to intimidate him into giving up information. This fails, but it is eventually agreed that he will tell us anything we want to know if we agree to let him go. He tells us there are ten others, that Thel’s wife and child are alive in the hideout, that Glasstaff is a wizard, and that someone known as the Black Spider told them to recruit members , frighten off adventures and intimidate the town.

We decide to take the Redbrand to Daran’s for safe keeping until we’ve dealt with the remaining Redbrands. Daran is surprised that we’ve already made some progress and agrees to watch him for us. We make our way back to the inn where Sildar has left payment for us. Danak rents a room for us to leave our things in if we so choose.

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Who make Klarg angry!

We begin with Danak unconscious and Raslin staring down A giant goblin, two smaller goblins, and a wolf after chasing a third small goblin as it fled from the group. Liarel stabilizes Danak and pulls him behind a stalagmite. Raslin kills the running goblin and runs back to the group. Mella misses the large goblin with a fireball and hides behind a second stalagmite.

Noticing the firebolt the large goblin yells “Who dare defy Klarg?” and rushes out of the adjoining room followed by the wolf and smaller goblins, one of which stabs Mella in the leg. Never hurls a witch bolt at Klarg as Liarel entangles the wolf and small goblins in magical vines. Raslin kills one of the entangled goblins as Mella heals themself and backs away from the wolf.

The goblin and the wolf break free from the vines and Klarg strikes Never, who collapses. Raslin casts sleep on the remaining small goblin. Mella strikes the wolf before being bitten. Klarg rushes Raslin who puts up a magic shield at the last moment. Liarel stabilizes Never as Raslin runs up the wall of the emptied reservoir and Mella kills the wolf. Klarg runs downstairs, out of the room.

Liarel ties up the sleeping goblin while Mella wakes Danak. The group heads into the adjoining room, Danak carrying Never. The room is filled with crates, all of which have a Lion Shield on them, the mark of a merchant group in Neverwinter. Liarel keeps watch while Raslin and Danak rummage through the crates looking for supplies. Raslin finds a chest behind the crates. In the chest is a bunch of copper, some silver, a jade frog statue, and two bottles.

The group examines the liquid in the bottles but cannot decide what it is, so Liarel force feeds some to the now-conscious, bound goblin and questions her about it. The goblin identifies herself as Fritz and claims to be our friend, but is otherwise unhelpful. Danak makes an executive decision to give the potion to Never. Never wakes and the group keeps the remaining bottle for future use.

Continuing to question Fritz, we discover that King Grohl took a dwarf (we presume Gundren) to Kragmaw Castle and that there is a human in the “eating cave”. We place Fritz in Danak’s backpack and she gives us directions to the eating cave. We eventually come to a room with bedrolls, five goblins, and on a second, higher level two large lumps. We ask Fritz to parley for us, but she begins calling out in goblin. Danak takes Fritz at knifepoint to the entrance of the room as a hostage and we notice a large, fat goblin holding Sildar at swordpoint. She calls for a truce, asking us to kill Klarg and bring her his head in exchange for Sildar. Raslin counters by offering the coppers and silver we found (presumably Klarg’s treasure) along with some bones we had collected. The goblins seem excited by this and agree to the trade.

Having retrieved Sildar we decide to get the fuck out of dodge and leave the cave, releasing Fritz once we get outside. As we head back down the forest trail to our caravan, Sildar tells us that someone named the Black Spider wanted Gundren. Apparently Gundren and two other dwarves had found Wave Echo cave, a rich mine once shared by dwarves and gnomes under Phandelver’s Pact. Wave Echo cave was a source of great magic and so was attacked by wizards and orcs and in the resulting turmoil the location of the cave was lost to time. Sildar says he has a contact in Phandelver names Irno and that he will pay us 50 gold if we escort him there. Never says that payment won’t be necessary and the rest of the group quickly shushes her.

We make it back to the caravan around midday and set off, Mella resting in the back and Liarel riding the ox. It begins the grow dark, but Sildar believes we are close to Pandelver so we press on and eventually come to a small town. On our way to the Stone Mill Inn we pass Barthon’s Provisions, the place we were meant to drop off the caravan. The store appears to be closed so we decide to come back in the morning.

At the Stone Mill Inn we meet the innkeeper, Tobin, who seems wary of Never but is otherwise quite welcoming. Sildar and Raslin each take private rooms while Danak, Liarel, Mella, and Never share one. We decide to pass some time in the common room and overhear Tobin’s wife discussing someone named Thel who had stood up to something called the Red Bands and had been killed, his entire family now missing. Mella approaches a farmer named Narth who tells them of Sister Garlele, who can be found at the Shrine of Luck across the square, saying she had recently returned to town after being hurt in the fight. As Mella begins to leave Narth tells them to watch out for the Red Bands, says they’re bad news, “thugs”.

We all go up to our rooms for the night.

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In the hallway, a forlorn Ireena kneels over Ismark’s body as Elgian examines the area. The rightmost door leads to a dilapidated bedroom and we drag Ismark’s body into it. The leftmost room is similar. There is no obvious way out besides the windows and Corrina, feeling claustrophobic, opens one. The room we are in is 25-30 feet off the ground. We decide to spend the night in this room and climb down in the morning. We close the door to the rightmost room and lock ourselves in the leftmost. While we rest we find a small coffer with four bottles each filled with a metallic smelling liquid the color of melted iron. Ireena talks a bit about Ismark but is otherwise quiet. Corrina and Elgian read. We piece together some old wood to tie our rope to in the morning.

The next morning finds Olana riding from the Vistani camp on a stolen horse heading to Argynvosholt. She is chased by a Vistani man on horseback and two Vistani women each riding a dire wolf.

From the tower the group hears a horse approaching fast. We look out the window to see Olana being chased. We recognize Arrigal. Corrina opens the window and drops the rope down.

Ollana reaches the front of the mansion, positions the stolen horse in front of the abandoned cart, and enters the front door. She quickly ducks into the sarcophagus room as the Vistani follow her inside.

Elgian flies down the rope and notices something watching him from the tower to the left, its eyes burning red before it disappears. Corrina climbs down as we hear a loud crash at our door. She jumps the last few feet, her featherfall ability weak but still effective. Ada begins to climb down followed by Ireena as there is another crashing sound, the door bursting open. Ismark’s reanimated corpse (henceforth Wasmark) stands in the doorway. Mondross climbs down the rope with some difficulty as Wasmark strikes Elmer twice. Elmer begins to climb down but the wood supporting the rope breaks as he is partway down and he falls to the ground landing hard on something in his backpack. Ada collects the rope as Wasmark looks out the window. Corrina and Mondross shoot at Wasmark before running toward the front of the mansion. Wasmark leaps out the window. As he lands his leg breaks but it immediately heals. He tries to attack Elmer but misses. Elgian plows into Wasmark, stabbing wildly and tripping him. Around the front of Argynvostholt Corrina sees the dire wolves and turns back to the group. Elmer brings a flaming sphere down upon Wasmark as Ireena, enraged, draws her sword. She attacks Wasmark but misses.

Olana makes her way through the mansion to the side gate leading outward and sees the ongoing fight.

Mondros casts Bane on the wolves and Wasmark. Ada stikes Wasmark with the short sword as he stands and attacks Elmer who falls unconscious.

The wolves begin to trot over to the group, but a whistle cuts them off as the Vistani exit the front of the mansion and approach the fight. Corrina greets Arrigal, but is ignored. Ollana shoots a firebolt at Wasmark but misses and immediately hides as she sees the Vistani. Elgian tries to engage Arrigal as he stabs Wasmark but is also ignored. Corrina continues trying to engage the Vistani and this time Arrigal smirks. The other two look concerned but do not move to aid us.

Mondross heals Elmer and Ada strikes Wasmark twice, once with the Sun Sword, tearing away part of his armor in the process. Wasmark overswings in an attempt to hit Ada and she manages to strike him again before he successfully attacks her. Elgian continues to stab Wasmark as Elmer casts Sacred Flame. Corrina runs through Wasmark with her rapier and a misty form with red eyes leaves his body and disappears.

Arrigal slow claps sarcastically and asks if we’ve seen an elf. Elmer immediately tells him about Savid and notices that Arrigal looks oddly pleased with himself. Arrigal calls for Savid to join the Vistani on their ride home. Elmer thoroughly antagonizes Arrigal who them attempts to curse him. Elmer resists the curse and launches into a sermon as the other two Vistani try to curse him. The Vistani turn and begin to ride off. As they do we hear Arrigal say “That’s a fine sword you have there. I’m sure Strahd will be very interested.”

Once they have gone a sufficient distance away Olana approaches Elmer and reveals her own holy symbol of the Morning Lord. They flirt a bit by way of religion as Corrina hazes Olana via mage hand, untying her shoe and generally poking at her. Olana and Ada look over Ismark’s body but find nothing of value and Olana reveals that she was a prisoner brought to Barovia as Corrina uses mage and the pick her pocket, finding a quill and using it to write cursive in the air. Olana asks the air if it enjoys wasting time.

We build a pyre for Ismark. Ireena says it is not their custom, but it seems to be a wise choice. We heal as Ismark burns and wonder aloud what happened to Ismark’s resources. Ireena reveals that she took them. Olana asks if we have a base of operations and we all burst into laughter. Olana explains that she heard Argynvostholt was haunted and contained something that could be used to defeat Strahd. We decide to head to the chapel.

From the chapel Olana misty steps through a window looking in on a stairwell heading up through the backmost tower and the rest of us head to the roof. From inside the tower Olana lifts the bar keeping the door to the tower shut and we all enter onto a landing. we take a set of rickety stairs up to a second landing. Here there are two doors and stairs leading up. Corrina opens one of the doors revealing a spectral. The spectral shoots at Corrina as another spectral comes through the other door. Corrina strikes her spectral as Elgian stabs wildly at the other, bits of mist leaking out of their wounds. Mondross dodges several blows, but slips and falls to the ground. Elmer unleashes holy light, partially melting the spectral by Elgian. Ada slashes at the melted spectral with the Sun Sword and it vanishes. Mondross stands and strikes the remaining spectral but is hit in the process. Elgian stabs at the remaining spectral as Elmer casts sacred flame. Olana looks at Elmer and flirts a bit before hitting herself with a firebolt. Ada slashes at the spectral and it dissipates.

Mondross heals himself and we head upstairs, one stair collapsing under us as we do. On the top level of the tower there are windows facing every direction and ravens on the crossbeams. through the windows we can see a windmill, an abbey, Villaki, and the marshes we came from. Speaking to the ravens, Corrina discovers that bones have been rising from the graveyard since the raven was small, but not always. The ravens say there are elves in the forest to the east, we think they mean the dusk elves around the Vistani camp.

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We begin in the Sun God’s chapel with Elmer in the midst of a healing spell. We notice that the bodies of the undead soldiers appear to have been buried before. We decide to return to the room with the sarcophagus wine bar to rest, but hear a creaking sound coming from the west. Corrina stealths over and examines the room to the west and notices nothing out of the ordinary, The room has a large table with chairs scattered about and a water dripping down the western wall forming a puddle on the floor. There are also two statues of knights with winged helms on in two alcoves in the east side of the room. The group passes through it into the main room of the first floor. We begin to head toward the room with the sarcophagus when we hear a horse drawn cart outside the front door. Elgian peers out the front window to see a human dressed in Vistani garb driving a cart up to the front steps of the mansion. In the cart is a coffin. After stopping to urinate against the base of the dragon statue, the human unhooks the horse from the cart and rides off.

The group heads out the front door, approaching the cart. Elgian examines the coffin, noticing that it looks similar to the coffins found in Heinrich’s shop. The name “Elmer Vandoot” is written on the front. Strangely unperturbed, Elmer opens the coffin. Dozens of bats pour out and begin attacking Elmer. They do not seem interested in the rest of us. Mondross puts most of the bats to sleep as Elmer climbs into the now-empty coffin and hurls sacred flame upward at the remaining bats before shutting himself into the coffin. Corrina traps a bat and attempts to interrogate it, but all it will say is “Kill Elmer”. We carry Elmer in the coffin to the room with the sarcophagus.

After a brief rest in the sarcophagus room we head to the second floor balcony. Ada enchants her short sword as the group comes upon a set of double doors. Elmer and Ismark open them to reveal a dilapidated bedroom. We notice a portrait of a man with thistle-down hair, and abundance of dragon imagery, and a wardrobe. In the wardrobe there is a leather scroll case containing the spells Bane and Mending, but there is little else in the room. Returning to the balcony we take the hallway to the north and happen upon a door that is already ajar. Corrina peeks in and hears a hissing noise. Thinking it will be the flame dragon again the group enters the room.

As we walk in, a small hissing dragon of smoke and ash erupts from the fireplace and flies out the door into the hallway. We follow the dragon up a spiral staircase on the west end of the hallway to the third floor. We exit onto a hallway filled with rubble and rainwater, the floor sagging. Elgian and Corrina follow the dragon over the rubble and around the corner to a room. In this room a gaunt, armored figure sits facing away from the entrance, holding a great sword. The dragon lands on the back of the figure’s chair and vanishes.

The rest of the group makes their way to the room and we hail the figure. He responds, “Go away”. After some prodding he tells:

“If you have come to destroy me, know this: I perished defend­ing this land f r om evil over four centuries ago, and be­cause of my failure, I am forever doomed. If you destroy this body, my spirit will find a new corpse to inhabit, and I will hunt you down. You cannot free me from my damnation, nor would I wish it.

If you have come to free this land from the creature that feasts on the blood of the innocent, know this: There is no monster I hate more than Strahd von Zarovich. He
slew Argynvost, broke the life of the knight I loved, and destroyed the valiant order to which I devoted my life, but Strahd has already died once. He can’t be allowed to die again. Instead, he must suffer eternally in a hell of his own creation, from which he can never escape. Whatever can be done to bring him misery and unrest, I will do, but I will destroy anyone who tries to end his torment.”

We try to engage with him further as an ally, but it seems we only risk antagonizing him, so we leave the room.

We wander about finding two destroyed bedrooms to the south and a collapsed bathroom across the hall from knight. Through this we find a room with religious imagery and stained glass windows depicting three different figures, two of which Ismark and Ireena are sure are St. Andrall and the Morning Lord.  Leaving there through a door to the north we find our way to a large room on the north side of the hallway. As we explore as piece of parchment flutters to the floor. Reading it, it appears to be a page from Argynvost’s journal. It discusses an upcoming battle with Strahd and Argynvost’s likely death, noting that Argynvost’s only regret is that his bones will not be lain to rest in Argynvostholt’s mausoleum. In this room we also find a book called The Oath Celestial, which appears the be devotional text for the knights of the Holy Order of Vallentia. We pocket the book.

We make our way up to the mansion’s roof. One of the dragon statues whispers

“When the dragon dreams its dream
Within its rightful tomb,
The light of Argynvost will beam
And rid this land of gloom.”

that when the dragon’s bones are returned to the mausoleum Argynvost’s light will shine again and part the gloom. We approach the backmost tower, but the door is bolted from the inside so we make our way back to the chapel balcony. On the way we find a curtain we had left open closed. Back on the second floor we come to a small alcove covered b a curtain. Pushing the curtain aside we see a white pedestal with a black cloth over it. Corrina uses mage hand to move the cloth, revealing Elgian’s severed head underneath. Elmer pockets it.

We proceed up a hallway to another, perpendicular hallway, one door at either end. As we approach one of the doors both fly open. A total of seven ghosts surround us. Their attacks hurt but do not cut and they can pass through us easily. When they are struck they begin to dissipate and when they are killed they vanish entirely. After several attacks Ireena collapses and we realize that the hallway we had entered from is closed off by a wall of stone. Elgian takes out one of the spectrals and Corrina, badly hurt makes her way to the rightmost door as there is nowhere to hide. Elgian and Ada each take out a spectral as Elmer heals Ireena. Elgian is struck and collapses, dropping the Sword by Ireena who kicks it over to Ada. Ada takes out another spectral as Ireena is struck and collapses again. Mondross and Ismark are both attacked and both collapse. Mondross manages to wake up and move to heal Ismark but notices that he has died and heals Ireena instead. Elmer is struck and collapses, the group takes out the remaining spectrals.

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The Road to Phandelin

Liarel, Danak, Raslin, Mella, and Never had each come to Neverwinter on their own business when they met Gundren Rockseeker, an affable dwarf. Gundren arranged for the five adventurers to help transport some supplies to Phandelin for him, but was too excited to wait for the crew to leave and headed out on horseback with a warrior escort named Sildar Hallwinter. The following day the adventurers left with the wagon of mining supplies. Over the course of a few days they made their way south on the High Road before turning east onto the Triboar trail. This less traveled trail is known for lawlessness occasional trouble from bandits and outlaws. After a few miles the group encountered the first sign of trouble as they came upon two dead horses in the road.

Danak saw the horses first and signaled for the wagon to stop. We notice arrows sticking out of the horses and ready ourselves for an ambush. Liarel and Mella move to scout either side of the forest as Danak moved up the road to the horses. The silence was broken by the twang of arrows firing from both sides at Danak as a small goblinoid rushes out of the bushes towards Danak. Another rushes Liarel in the forested area to the south of the road. Two more pop in and out of bushes firing arrows on the sides of the road.

After a short bout of nearly everyone missing their intended targets, Liarel, Raslin, and Mella each take out a goblin. There is a brief skirmish before Never kills the remaining goblin. Liarel, wounded, lays on the ox to rest. Danak searches for any other enemies and in doing so happens upon a trail heading to the north. Raslin inspects the horses and concludes that they have been dead for about one day.

Raslin and Mella head off to scout ahead on the northern trail. They notice dragging marks and the tracks of maybe a dozen small creatures. As they continue they happen upon a rope trap (which Raslin marks with a handkerchief) and a pit trap (which Mella does not allow him to mark with a handkerchief) both of which are easily spotted by Mella and avoided. After about thirty minutes Mella climbs a tree and sees a hillside about another thirty minutes north. They notice a faint smoke smell coming from that direction.

Meanwhile, back on the main trail, Never chats up Liarel as she rests while Danak searches the goblins’ bodies. He pockets a scroll case, a few swords, and a collection of teeth. Raslin and Mella return to the group and tell them about the smoke coming from the hillside. The group hides the cart while Mella buries the goblins, then everyone heads up the northern trail.

Danak disables the first trap, taking the rope, and we continue up the path until we come to an opening. There is a hillside with a large cave out of which flows a stream. Across the stream is a brier. We smell smoke and notice the dragging marks continue in the direction of the stream.

Liarel and Never cross the stream and approach the brier, finding two goblins. Never panics and throws a dagger at the nearest goblin before being shot. Raslin runs up and shoots the wounded goblin, killing it. Mella wounds the remaining goblin, which starts to run. Mella kills the fleeing goblin and finds a small rodent skull on its person. Liarel recovers Never’s dagger and returns it to her. Mella buries the bodies.

Raslin and Mella take a brief trip into the cave to find guard wolves chained in a room to the right side of the path which follows the stream into the interior. They return to the group and Mella wanders off to walk around the entirety of the hillside while the group rests.

After resting the group heads into the cave moving quick past the three growling wolves. Mella spots a bridge above us and notices movement running across it. Mella and Roslin climb up the side of the wall, making their way toward the bridge. Suddenly, a wave of water comes flooding in, knocking Liarel and Never back to the cave’s entrance. As the party scrambling to regroup and climb up to the bridge using a rope Raslin lowered, Mella sees a goblin walk into view from the passage way on the right of the bridge but it quickly retreated out of view. Mella runs down the opposite passageway across the bridge and finds that it curves  to the left and opens up to an area on the right which is lite by some fire which was out of his view. There was also a small passageway on the left side leading to darkness. Mella returns to the  bridge and with the whole party together they following the movement Mella saw.

We come upon a room with two large pools of water, one of which has been emptied. There are four goblins hiding behind stalagmites looking toward us. Danak rushes the first one but is then shot by several arrows from the other three and drops to the ground dying. The rest of the party attacks and kills three of the goblins but one flees to the other side of the room out of view. Raslin rushes after and find there are natural steps that lead up to another chamber which the goblin is running towards. She fires a bolt of flame towards him but misses. As she does she sees the natural chamber has a fire burning in the center and the far side of the room contains stacks of creates. A huge goblinoid standing a good six to seven feet tall stand up, a mangy wolf growls at his side and two other goblins turn to look at the disturbance.

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We begin in a thoroughly plundered kitchen, the windows on the side of a large hearth look out onto a graveyard. We proceed to the next room (separated from the kitchen with a curtain rather than a door) which is round and looks to be part of one of the towers. It has also been ransacked. Half a dozen broken beds and other pieces of furniture are strewn about the floor. From here we exit into a stairwell headed downward. Past the stairwell on the right there is a locked gate which leads to the outside. Another set of stairs lead up the opposite side of the stairwell leading to another door which looks to go into the other tower. Corrina picks the lock on the gate to open up a means of escape should we need one. Ismark pockets the padlock and we hide the chain outside.

Heading up the stairs and into the next room, we find a neglected parlor, also circular. Inside there is a lovely mural depicting a silver dragon and several colorful birds. The next room over contains a black sarcophagus with a queen’s effigy carved into it. As we enter the room, flame erupts from the fireplace, taking the shape of a dragon. It says, “My knights have fallen into darkness. Save them if you can. Show them the light they have lost!” and disappears.

Elgian readies the Sword (previously referred to as the hilt) as we approach the sarcophagus. After much discussion we decide to open it. It’s a mini bar.

We exit back into the main room of the first floor and decide to make our way upstairs. On the second floor balcony weapons and shields line the walls and there is an abundance of knight imagery. The hallway to the right leads to an alcove behind a curtain. It looks out over the cemetery. Elgian notices some of the graves appear to had been dug up.

From there we go through a door to the east which exits onto a balcony overlooking a chapel. There is an intricately carved throne on the balcony, but not much else, and we decide to take the spiral stairs down to the first floor of the chapel. On the first floor we see an altar carved with the image of a rising sun, stained glass windows (one of which has been shattered, allowing fog to seep into the room), and three figures kneeling in prayer. They wear armor and appear to be dead.

Ismark attempts to stealthily unsheathe his sword, but the figures take notice and charge us. Corrina casts thunderwave, which has little effect on the soldiers but does damage the balcony. Elgian pulls out the Sword which flares out, filling the room with light. The sun on the altar begins to glow. Ada runs across the room to examine the altar but notices nothing of value.

Elgian slashes at the undead soldiers, noticing that the Sword seems to burn them. The soldiers move with unnatural speed and strength, knocking Elgian to the ground causing him to drop the Sword. All their wounds except the creature who had been struck by the sword begin to heal immediately.

Ismark picks up the Sword and throws it to Ada. Ireena defends Elgian as he lies on the floor bleeding. Elmer casts burning hands and notices that his spell feels stronger than ever before simply by being in the chapel. The damage inflicted on the soldiers by the fire seems to delay the creatures healing of other damage from swords and arrows.

Holding the Sword, Ada feels an intense need to take action and rushes the soldier standing over Elgian. Elmer channels divinity, bringing radiant light into the area, this seems to damage the creatures slightly and stop their healing temporarily but has little damaging effect overall. Elgian gets up and tries to distract the soldiers by jumping around. Ada slashes at another soldier and runs back to the altar with the Sword.

Mondross casts bane on the soldiers. The soldiers strike back and Mondross falls to the floor, unconscious. On of the soldiers stabs himself in the leg. Elmer heals Mondross.

Over at the altar, Ada notices no change in the rising sun symbol even when it touches the Sword directly. She rushes back to the soldiers. The soldiers strike Mondross and Ismark, both of whom fall unconscious.

Elmer casts burning hands again, this time killing one of the undead soldiers. A misty form rises from the charred remains, eyes glowing an angry red. Shortly thereafter Elgian and Ada kill another of the soldiers and a similar misty form follows.

After a long time defending herself flawlessly, Ireena is finally struck by one of the soldiers, she resorts by stabbing the creature with her long sword. Corrina heals Mondross. Ada heals Ismark and gives him the Sword. The remaining soldier strikes Ireena then Elgian, both of whom fall unconscious. Ismark slashes at the soldier but misses and gives the Sword back the Ada. Mondras heals Elgian and Ireena wakes up on her own.

The soldier strikes at Ada and she collapses, dropping the Sword. The soldier picks up the Sword and pauses. For a moment he appears as a knight standing tall in shining armor but the illusion lasts but an instant. Elmer casts sacred flame and the soldier doesn’t even try to avoid the attack. The soldier turns to us and says, “Kill me.” Corrina shoots him with her bow and he collapses, dropping the Sword. A similar mist rises from the remains.

Elmer begins to heal the group.

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