22nd day of the Time of Flowers – 1481 DR
With the sun hanging low in the sky, the party decided to split up. Ulfgar had taken the goblin’s escape rather personally, given that it was his rope and knots that bound the creature. The dwarf decided it was his duty to recapture the little beast. So, as Ulfgar darted off back north towards the Triboar Trail in search of his quarry, the rest of the party drove the ox cart down the road between some small houses and up to a trading post. Barthen’s Provisions, the place Gundren had sent the party, was the biggest trading post in Phandalin. A lean, balding man was at the door to greet them as they approached. He explained that they were about to close for the night, but that he could help them unload their supplies before he ended his day. He called for a couple of young clerks who helped to unload the cart and bring in supplies. The man, Elmar Barthen, had a kindly demeanor. He recognized Sildar, and he was excited to receive the supplies he’d been expecting, but he was curious to know what had become of Gundren. A look of dismay came upon Elmar’s face as Sildar recounted the tale of the day he and Gundren had been ambushed and captured. Elmar urged the party to track down Gundren. The town of Phandalin looked to be on the road to prosperity again, but with all of the Rockseeker brothers missing, that hope seemed dim. Elmar went on to explain that Nundro and Tharden, Gundren’s brothers, had been camping somewhere outside of town. They hadn’t been seen in over a tenday and were overdue for a resupply run. When asked about the Redbrand Ruffians, Barthen told the adventurers that they had been making life hard for the townspeople of Phandalin, shaking down local businesses and flouting the townmaster’s authority. After chatting a bit, the old fellow paid the adventurers the gold that had been promised as part of their deal with Gundren. He offered to hang on to the supplies that had been recovered from Cragmaw Hideout until the party could retrieve them the next day and take them to the Lionshield Coster. He then referred them to the Stonehill Inn for a night’s rest.
Ered led the way down the road towards the inn and noticed that across the street from Barthen’s Provisions was a smithy. The large man walked up to the blacksmith and asked about getting his axe sharpened. Apparently, the smith offended Ered in some way or was too resistant to the big fellow’s persuasion, and it looked as though things might actually get violent. The rest of the group pulled Ered back into the street and Sildar reminded him that ale awaited at the Stonehill Inn just down the street.
As they approached the inn, they could hear music and the din of the patrons and staff inside. The road-weary adventurers were eager for the pleasure of hot food, cold drinks, and a warm bed to follow. They drew many curious looks as they sauntered into the main hall. Kaster, sensing an opportunity to gain some local favor, bought a round of drinks for everyone. Ered was quick to get into the spirit of things and began drinking heavily. The group was happy to have a bit of rest and refreshment. As the evening wore on, Kaster, Flint, and Ered made arrangements to stay the night in the inn. Faelyn and Thalia decided to spend the night outside. Given the party’s interest in finding one Daran Edermath, the girls decided to set up an impromptu camp in Edermath Orchard. Flint, turned in early to offer prayers to Marthammor Duin.
As Kaster and Ered continued their night of merry-making, a local miner came up to their table as if to strike up a conversation. He had clearly had more than a mere sampling of the libations on offer.
“Hey fellow!” shouted Ered.
“Hello friend,” the man retorted.
They learned that the man, called Lanar, had been recruited by the guildmaster of the local miner’s exchange, Halia Thornton. He had come from the east in search of mining work and settled in Phandalin a couple of years prior. The relatively new mining operation mostly involved extracting iron ore from the region. When Lanar had learned that Ered and his friends had come to Phandalin along the Triboar Trail, he mentioned a pack of orcs that had been harassing travelers and supply caravans along that road. Ered, his head hazy with drink, told Lanar that the group had dealt with the orcs. Kaster inquired about the Redbrands. “Those bastards,” spit Lanar. But, he stopped the sorcerer, and expressed how pleased he was at the news that the orc marauders had been dealt with. He told the two men that they must notify the townmaster. It was at this point that Ered corrected himself, blaming the ale for his clouded mind. Ered briefly related the tale of the group’s battle with goblins (not orcs). Lanar admitted that his head was not all that clear either, and the two shared a chuckle over their state. Lanar encouraged them to talk to the townmaster, Harbin Wester, as he’d been looking for someone to deal with the orcs. Kaster probed again about the Redbrands. Lanar corroborated what the group had heard from Barthen earlier in the evening – the Redbrands were trouble-makers causing problems for the local townsfolk. Lanar also revealed that they could normally be found at the Sleeping Giant tap house just down the road to the east.
Kaster decided to leave Ered to his carousing and headed for his room. Just as we was about to ascend the staircase, the innkeeper’s wife, Trilena, stopped him. “I heard you mention something about the Redbrands.” She continued, expressing some of the same sentiments as the other townsfolk about this group of ruffians, but she had more to tell. She spoke of a local woodcarver, Thel Dendrar, who had kicked some Redbrands out of his shop about a tenday ago. They had been leering at his wife and generally making his family uncomfortable. The next day, the entire family had disappeared. Kaster tried to gather information from the woman, but she wasn’t sure who the Rebrand leader was or how many of them there were. “There has been talk that a group of those brutes killed Thel before they took his family away.” Trilena explained that the townmaster, pompous oaf that he was, had not been very helpful in removing the Redbrands. She also mentioned that the brigands appeared to have been operating out of an old, run-down manor to the far east of town, though she was unsure of the name of the place. She suggested that Kaster might be able to gather more information from Daran Edermath who had some knowledge of local history. With that, Kaster headed off to bed, reminding his large companion that he should also get some sleep as the next day promised to be eventful.
Ered continued chatting with Lanar until the miner too went home to sleep off the night’s festivities. “Ered, my friend, I’ve enjoyed your company, but I must be off. Goodnight.” A young boy came over to wipe down the table where Lanar had been sitting. It was Pip, the innkeeper’s young son. Ered greeted the boy and expressed his intent to head off to bed. Before he left though, Ered asked the boy if he had any news to share.
“Well…” the boy’s eyes shifted to the left as he searched his memory. “Carp said he found a secret tunnel!” he announced triumphantly, pleased with his ability to recollect a scrap of information that was sure to impress the adventurer.
“Who is Carp?” inquired Ered.
Carp, Pip revealed, was a young halfling lad who lived on Alderleaf Farm with his mother, Qelline. The alleged secret tunnel was apparently somewhere in the woods, but Pip was short on details. Ered instructed Pip to send the halfling lad his way so that they could talk. The wooden table groaned as the large man forced himself up. As he swung his leg over the bench, he casually flipped the boy a copper coin.
“Thank you, sir! Thank you very much!”
Meanwhile, in the orchard, the elves were making themselves comfortable and settling in for the night.
“Can I ask what you’ve got there?” inquired Faelyn, pointing to the remnants of the leather pouch Thalia had recovered from the goblin cave.
“Something I made when I was younger.” Thalia replied.
Faelyn was eager to know more about her mysterious companion, but Thalia seemed a bit reluctant. They did discover, not surprisingly, that they shared a love of animals and nature. Not wanting to pry, Faelyn gently backed off of her questioning and they both laid back and watched the stars as they twinkled brightly in the dark blanket of night sky overhead.
23rd Day of the Time of Flowers
The next morning, Thalia and Faelyn woke early…too early, they felt, to disturb master Edermath. So, they headed back to the Stonehill Inn to meet their friends for breakfast. Ered, Kaster and Flint were already assembled in the main hall. The elves were a bit surprised to see everyone up already, particularly Ered, but there was not much sleep to be had as concern was growing for Ulfgar who had not yet returned. Toblen, the innkeeper, informed the gathering that Sildar would be resting in his room, his time in the goblin cave having taken its toll. Elsa, the barmaid, served them a variety of breads and some watered wine. As they dined, they noticed a small pair of eyes peering out at them from under a small cap at the end of the table. Carp Alderleaf stood waiting, his height barely cleared that of the table. He had come to see Ered to discuss the secret tunnel he had found in the woods.
“Hello there,” said Ered, “your name wouldn’t be Carp, would it?”
The small boy responded enthusiastically, “I’m Carp! Pip, told me about you! You’re just as big as he said!”
Ered asked the boy to describe the secret tunnel he’d found. Carp was a ball of energy. He spoke breathlessly as he explained how he came to be in the woods.
“I like to go into the woods looking for faerie dragons. Reidoth says that they like treasure. I go out into the woods with coins and cakes and I try to lure them out. Reidoth says you can’t see them because they’re invisible so you have to listen for them, but it doesn’t work. Mother won’t let me take coins out into the forest any longer because I lost some once…and I get hungry when I wait for the faerie dragons to show up, so I eat the cakes. I haven’t found any faerie dragons.”
Ered tried to maintain composure as he attempted to steer the boy back onto the subject of the tunnel. “That is hard luck…so, in the woods…”
Carp interrupted, “But I’m still going to look!”
Ered was patient. “Where did you see this tunnel? Could you show me?”
“I’ve seen the Redbrands coming from the tunnel,” he continued. “I think they killed my dog.”
The party of rugged adventurers softened as they saw the torment on the boys face.
“What was your dog’s name?” asked Faelyn.
“Frolla,” Carp replied, gloomily.
Frolla, the Alderleaf family mastiff, was the resident protector of the farm. She wasn’t prone to running off and Carp was convinced the Redbrands must have killed her. Ered expressed his sympathy. Carp went on to explain that he had seen the Redbrands make use of the tunnel in the hill beneath the manor on the east side of town. Kaster seemed eager to seek out this secret entrance. Faelyn, somewhat surprisingly, expressed concern about rushing headlong into a situation before they had more information. Carp told the adventurers that he could be found on Alderleaf Farm if they needed him to show them the entrance to the tunnel. Ered thanked the lad and tossed him a copper piece.
“Thank you, sir! I can use this to lure faerie dragons!”
Flint suggested that the lad could also buy cakes. This seemed to give Carp some pause before he suddenly darted out of the inn into the street.
The group deliberated over their next course of action. They had a mind to visit the town master as well as Daran Edermath. They settled up their bill with Toblen before setting off. The party started by heading back to Barthen’s Provisions to recover the supplies that had been liberated from Cragmaw Hideout. Barthen’s clerks helped prepare the cargo and the group headed down the street to the Lionshield Coster. They entered the shop to the ring of a small bell above the door. Standing behind the counter was a lady in her mid-30s. Linene Graywind, the proprietor, greeted them.
“Good morning, what can I do for you folks.”
Flint explained, “We believe that we’ve retrieved some items that might have belonged to you.”
“Well we’ve had a shipment waylaid recently. Could that be what you’re referring to?”
As Flint and Ered revealed how they came by these goods, Linene walked with them to the wagon outside to inspect the recovered provisions. Having confirmed that this was indeed her shipment, she was thrilled to have the items back. She encouraged the adventurers to let her know if she could help them with anything while they were staying in Phandalin. She indicated that she had supplies and equipment on hand that might prove useful to the group. Then, she paid them 50 gold pieces for their troubles. Linene went on to explain that the Lionshields operate out of the east. Of late, their caravans had been dealing with an increasing level of banditry. Flint inquired about the Redbrands and whether or not they had caused trouble for Linene. She indicated that they tend to steer clear of the Lionshield Coster. Linene expressed to them early on that they were not welcome in her establishment. The party decided to shop around a bit to see what the Lionshield Coster had to offer. Ered did not find a weapon better than his axe or armor better than his mail. Faelyn expressed interest in a component pouch, which Linene had on hand for 20 gold pieces. The ranger was reluctant to spend that much, but she did purchase some arrows, as did Thalia. The group thanked Linene and bid her farewell before driving the ox cart back over to Barthen’s Provisions.
From there, the band of adventurers moved back down the road, past the Stonehill Inn and on to check in with Harbin Wester. As they approached the stone-walled townmaster’s hall, Faelyn examined a notice posted on a board next to the front door. It bore the town seal and an indecipherable signature:
“Orcs!?” cried Faelyn. She spit at the ground in front of the sign and rushed inside. Waiting for the party inside was a fat, foolish looking old man. His clothing was decadent, and while he had an air of self-importance, he seemed to lack any obvious virtues. His initial reaction to Faelyn and the rest was a bit cool, but when Kaster entered the hall, the man’s bearing suddenly changed and he bowed low.
“Good morrow to you!”
Kaster, appreciating the recognition of his own nobility, glided forward to take his hand in friendship.
“I am Harbin Wester, town master of Phandalin. Welcome! How might I be of service to you and your…companions?”
Kaster reciprocated, “Greetings my good man. We’re here to inquire about the notice outside. We noticed you’ve been having trouble with orcs.”
Wester related to the group the problems this orc band had been giving travelers in the region. “I’m looking for an adventuring lot such as you to take care of these abominable creatures.”
The town master went on to report that the orcs appeared to be operating out of Wyvern Tor, in the foothills of the Sword Mountains a few days travel to the northeast. The raiding orc bands had apparently been encroaching closer and closer to Phandalin along the Triboar Trail.
Hearing this, Kaster turned to the half-elf. “Faelyn, we might have to wait on contending with these orcs until we’ve dealt with matters closer at hand.” He knew she’d be eager to pursue the creatures as she had a particular disdain for them.
“We will…” she started to assert her desire to go after the raiders, but the others all spoke at once in an attempt to assuage the ranger’s thirst for orc blood.
“We will,” they agreed.
Flint then asked, “What can you tell us about the Redbrands?”
Wester’s shoulders sunk a bit. “Nasty business with the Redbrands,” he said. “They seem to have set up shop at the old Tresendar Manor on the east side of town.”
The party was stunned by the mention of the name. Sensing their surprise, Wester hesitated.
“My name is Ered Tresendar,” the large man barked.
“Ered Tresendar you say? Do you have family ties to the region?” challenged the town master.
Ered answered honestly, “I…don’t know.”
Wester turned to Kaster. “Is this man really called Tresendar?” He seemed skeptical of the claim and was starting to suspect that these outsiders were about to attempt to take advantage of him in some way.
Ered started to reveal what details he could recall about his human parents and how his mother had left him with dwarves, but Wester seemed more interested in his own problems.
“Condolences. About these orcs…” he said, turning to Faelyn, “you seemed eager to take care of those. How soon do you think you could do that?”
Faelyn, in spite of her own priorities, stood firm with her companions. “As soon as we’ve taken care of this business with the Redbrands,” she replied.
Wester seemed content with this as both issues had caused problems for his town and its people, though his reputation was just as important to him. The company of adventurers stepped out into the street and began to discuss their next move when they were suddenly confronted by five rough looking men in dirty red cloaks.
“Well, well, well. What ’ave we here?”
Ered stepped forward and demanded that his foes identify themselves. They ignored him.
“Time for you to move on, strangers,” said one of the Redbrands.
“Who are you to tell me to move on?” Ered challenged. The Redbrands demanded that the group hand over their items of value and be on their way. Ered declined and the Redbrands drew their swords.
Faelyn, without hesitation, notched an arrow and let it fly into the shoulder of the Redbrand closest to Flint and Kaster. The villain reeled from the blow, but was still in the fight. Thalia’s bow also began to thrum as she shot an arrow into another Redbrand’s neck. He too survived the initial salvo. Flint called upon the power of Marhtammor Duin. A flash of light glared in his palm as a bolt of radiant energy shot from the dwarf’s hands towards one of the Redbrands. The bolt connected and the Redbrand was suddenly enveloped in a brilliant light. Just as suddenly, the light dissipated and what had been a man crumbled into a pile of smoldering ash. The display was such that not only were the other Redbrands in awe, but so too were Flint’s own companions. Realizing that these strangers were not to be trifled with, the Redbrands regained their wits and pressed their attack. One of them lunged towards Kaster with his shortsword, but the sorcerer deftly evaded the thrust. Another engaged Ered, swinging a blade at the large man, but Ered fended off the blow with his Torrun Clan shield. Sensing an opportunity, another Redbrand focused on Ered successfully plunged his weapon into the warrior’s flesh. A third Redbrand moved in for an assault. In spite of his wound, Ered raised his shield in time to deflect it. It was Ered’s turn. The massive fellow raised his axe, the dazzling blue sapphire in its handle gleaming in the sunlight, and hewed at the nearest Redbrand, cleaving the man’s thigh. Ered’s opponent shrieked in pain and faltered. Kaster, not to be outdone, conjured a firebolt in the palm of his hand and sent it flying towards one of his attackers. The target was suddenly enveloped in flames and, screaming in pain, he began flailing about in an attempt to put them out.
Faelyn intensified her focus. She muttered something to herself as she pulled an arrow from her quiver. She aimed with total concentration, and then loosed the arrow at one of the Redbrands. The arrow hit its mark. Half a second later, a shower of thorns exploded outward from the arrowhead, now firmly rooted in the man’s chest. The wretch survived long enough to see the ruffian next to him have his throat shredded by several shooting thorns, then Thalia finished him off with an arrow to the jugular. Both men fell dead at once. Flint, once again, invoked the divine power at his command and sent a guiding bolt towards another Redbrand. The scoundrel was enveloped in light and reduced to ash. There was only one of the Redbrands left. Having seen his comrades defeated in such spectacular fashion, the survivor decided to run. He darted off in a northeasterly direction, presumably headed for the street that led to the Sleeping Giant. Ered gave chase and, after a few long strides, pulled a handaxe from his belt and hurled it towards the escaping enemy. The small axe spun in the air before sinking into the Redbrand’s back with a thunk. He fell face first in the dirt, still alive, but incapacitated. The townspeople who had gathered to witness the fight had been, at first, enthusiastic at the sight of someone standing up to the Redbrands. The violence in their once quiet streets was all too real, however, and some of the more squeamish gasped and turned away as they saw Kaster approach the fallen man with his dagger drawn. He stepped over the man, straddling him. The sorcerer grabbed the ruffian’s head and held it back before drawing his dagger across the man’s throat. Blood spilled into the street and the last of their enemies expired. Kaster wiped his dagger off. Sensing the crowd’s distaste for such brutality, the sorcerer’s sense of showmanship kicked in. He raised his hand and sent a shower of colorful sparks high into the air. The gathered mob cheered.
As the rest of the group recuperated, Flint tended to Ered’s wounds. A young, dark-haired elf who had been watching the battle from a house at the edge of the center of town, walked out and approached them. "It seems the luck of Tymora was with you,” she said. “I am Sister Garaele, caretaker of the Shrine of Luck, which you see before you,” she gestured to the nearby shrine on the north side of town center. “Once you are able, come and see me. My home is just next door. Come rest and we shall confer.”
As the party was listening to Sister Garaele, Kaster noticed that Harbin Wester, the town master, had also been watching the fray. The look on his face was one of concern. Kaster called out to him as they all began to walk towards the Townmaster’s Hall.
“Harbin Wester, are you not pleased with what we’ve done for your town?”
Flint chimed in, “We’ve only done what you’ve asked!”
Harbin Wester replied, somewhat sheepishly, “Yes, but so openly in brought daylight. I’m concerned that retribution will be swift and violent.”
Kaster was losing patience. “For whom?”
Wester knew he needed to appear like a competent leader during what had become an uncomfortably public conversation.
“For the townspeople…and possibly for you, though you seem capable of handling yourselves fairly well.”
Flint was also starting to become annoyed by the townmaster. “They approached us. They seem to have more interest in us than we do in them,” the dwarf said testily.
Harbin Wester pleaded with them, “Will you stay here in Phandalin until this is seen through? I don’t want you to leave now that you’ve stirred up the hornets’ nest.”
Flint didn’t hesitate. “Absolutely. We’ll take all comers.”
At that, the townmaster went back into the town hall and spoke with a few men, gesturing towards the corpses of the Redbrands in the town center. As the company of adventurers made their way towards Sister Garaele’s home, Kaster knelt beside one of the fallen Redbrands, removed his red cloak, and tucked it into his own clothing.
Sister Garaele was still standing in front of her house as they approached. She opened her front door and beckoned them inside. Once they had all entered and found seats, the elf began speaking.
“You all seem to be able to handle yourselves quite well. I have a task that I think you are well suited for if you are interested.” She looked around the room and attempted to gauge their reactions.
“Yes, let’s discuss your proposal,” said Kaster.
Garaele went on to explain that her superiors within The Harpers, an organization she was affiliated with, wanted her to seek out a banshee called Agatha. Gareale was to persuade the banshee to answer a question about a spellbook. She had attempted to seek Agatha out herself in the creature’s lair (in the woods north of Conyberry), but the banshee did not appear for her.
“Perhaps with a suitable gift,” Garaele held up a jeweled, silver comb as she said this, “you could persuade her to appear. Present this to Agatha and ask her where to find the spellbook belonging to the legendary mage, Bowgentle.” She looked directly at Kaster Magus and said, “One who flatters Agatha’s vanity might be able to trade this prize for an answer to that question.” In exchange for performing this task, Garaele offered the party three healing potions.
“Where would we find thisss…” began Ered.
“Off to the northeast in the woods,” said Garaele.
“Near Conyberry?” asked Flint.
“If you leave the Triboar Trail and venture north into the woods near Conyberry, you should find it,” explained the elf.
Kaster’s suspicions were aroused by the details Garaele was leaving out of her description, but he did not get the sense that she was being deceitful. The party considered their options and discussed a next course of action. The Redbrands were still a problem, and were likely to retaliate once they got wind of the fate of their comrades. Gundren and his map were still missing and, if the dwarf was still alive, he was likely being held prisoner by goblins or worse. The location of Castle Cragmaw was still a mystery. An orc raiding party was still at large. Their brother in arms, Ulfgar, had not been seen since they arrived in town. Now, they were being asked to take a gift to an elusive banshee several days travel away. Ered asked Garaele if she’d ever heard of a character known as “The Black Spider.” Garaele’s expression at the mention of this name was thoughtful, but beyond that she did not give any indication that she was familiar with the name. Ered then asked about Iarno Albrek.
“Iarno was here briefly…he was a mage. Part of the Lords’ Alliance was my understanding. But I never had too many direct interactions with him. He was only here briefly.”
Ered continued probing Garaele for information regarding the various tasks the party had been involved in. When asked about Wave Echo Cave, she described it much as Sildar had done when they first encountered him in Cragmaw Hideout. The party ultimately decided to seek out Daran Edermath.
When Sister Garaele saw them getting up to leave, she protested, “…but Agatha.”
Flint explained that the group had more business in town but that they would complete the task. Kaster told her that they would send Pip ahead to talk with her once they were setting out.
“The Stonehill boy?” she asked.
“Yes,” they all replied in unison.
“Very well. I will hold the comb for you here.”
The band of adventurers left Garaele’s home and cut through the Town Green as they approached Edermath Orchard. Next to the orchard was a small cottage. Tending the trees was a fit, silver-haired half-elf. Though he resembled a man of no more than fifty, in fact, he was well over one hundred years old.
“Well met, friends,” he greeted enthusiastically.
“Well met,” replied Flint.
“I am Daran Edermath and this is my orchard. What can I help you with?”
“We’ve heard that you might be interested in speaking with someone about dealing with the Redbrands.”
Daran smiled, “From what I’ve seen it looks as though you’ve already begun that task.”
“It wasn’t by choice, but we’ve accepted the task nonetheless,” the dwarf retorted.
“They’re a nasty bunch and I appreciate what you’ve done thus far.”
Daran went on to explain that he had been growing increasingly concerned about the Redbrands presence in Phandalin and that he had been hoping that a group of like-minded people might band together to confront them. Glasstaff, he said, had had his way for long enough. The party was intrigued by this. It was the first time they had heard a direct reference to the leader of the Redbrands by name. Daran described the ruffians’ comings and goings…how they tended to occupy the Sleeping Giant. He also confirmed that the Redbrands seemed to be operating out of the lower level of Tresendar Manor, the ruin on the east side of town.
“What can you tell us about the Tresendars?” asked Ered.
“The manor is ancient and has long been abandoned. It’s cellars are likely where the Redbrands have established a safe house.”
“My name is Ered Tresendar.”
“Really? That is interesting.”
“I was actually given your name to come here to investigate my human heritage.”
“Is that so? Well, I’ll tell you what, Ered Tresendar. If you get rid of those Redbrands, then come back and speak with me. We can discuss what I know of your family heritage. I may be of some help to you, particularly if you find any ancestral belongings.”
“I already have something that belonged to my mother.”
“What might that be?”
Ered held up the handle of his axe to show the half-elf the sapphire that resided there. Daran looked at the gem knowingly. He didn’t seem at all curious as to how the big fellow came upon such a stone.
“Most intriguing. An interesting turn of events indeed.”
The party attempted to gather as much information as they could about the Redbrands and their dwelling.
Flint asked, “Do you know about the secret cave in the forest next to the manor?”
“I’ve not heard of this, though, it would not surprise me to learn it. The Redbrands seem to appear and disappear at will. While it is expected that they’re sneaking in and out of Tresendar Manor, it is difficult to be sure.” The old half-elf paused, “Where did you come by this information?”
“Carp,” chimed in Ered.
“Ah, the halfling boy! Yes! He would know. He spends a lot of time in those woods.”
The group began to discuss their next course of action when Kaster suddenly remembered to ask what Daran knew of the Black Spider. The old fellow had not heard of such a person, but he did have another matter for the party to address. He went on to recount stories he had heard from prospectors coming from the hills to the northeast of Phandalin. Apparently, some stranger or group of strangers had been digging around in the ancient ruin at Old Owl Well. More disturbingly, some prospectors had reported being chased from the area by the undead. Daran explained that the ruins at Old Owl Well are of an old watch tower of the ancient magical empire of Netheril. He seemed troubled as he described the potential for dangerous magic lying dormant there. Daran was sympathetic to the large number of tasks the group was already attempting to accomplish, but he suggested that investigating this disturbance might be worth their time and it would certainly be a benefit to the town of Phandalin.
Ered suddenly recalled something that Elsa the barmaid had said about Daran. “We hear you were once an adventurer yourself.”
“I was a member of the Order of the Gauntlet. Our aim was to protect the innocent from the depredations of evil doers.”
“Are you still a member of the order?” asked Ered.
“I am retired. You are probably wondering why I have not taken steps to deal with these Redbrand Ruffians myself. I have. But alone, there is only so much I can do.”
“Do you want to help us?” piped Faelyn.
“Yes, would you like to come out for one more adventure?” agreed Kaster.
“I think I will leave that to the likes of you. I am content to tend my orchard.”
It looked as though the party was about to be on their way. Daran pulled Thalia and Faelyn aside for a moment. He told them that should they decide to spend the night in his orchard again, it would be polite to ask permission first. Faelyn apologized and thanked him for his time.