Humble Beginnings

Chapter 4 - Things are Beginning to "Fireball" Out of Control
The Forteenth day of Mirtul 1485 DR

Dear Family, wherever you are:

You will probably never see this letter or any of the others, but it strangely comforts me to write to you anyway.

I’m still with that strange set of adventurers I somehow fell in with. Did I mention most of them are short? Two dwarves, a halfling, and an elf (she’s not short though. Or maybe she’s short for an elf? I’m not certain since I’ve rarely been around any. But she’s my height). At first I thought all the men were useless bumblers in addition to being short, but they’ve proven surprisingly competent at times. But only at times.

For instance, we were recently looking for clues as to Iarno’s disappearance in the Redbrand caves.

We had mostly gotten through their lair without incident (there was a dicey moment with a strange mind-speaking one-eyed creature who wanted a glass staff), had found some surprising information, and were about to continue when the leader of the Redbrands called out to us show ourselves.

Trabor snuck down the hall and saw that their wizard leader (who had a glass staff) had laid an ambush for us. I was still maintaining my Red Brand disguise glamour, so we decided I would slip around and distract them while the others set up our own ambush. A bugbear met me at the other side of the room! Fortunately, he didn’t suspect I wasn’t who I appeared to be and let me pass to join the thugs’ ambush. He stayed at the door. When I joined the thugs, the wizard leader questioned me, and I told some tongue-tied falsehood about having heard the interlopers doing something in a far room. (I am not sure what got into me that day – I’m usually a smooth talker. Then again, I haven’t quite gotten back to my normal self since the accident…)

Glass-staff was about to send all the thugs and bugbears after my companions and I decided I didn’t like the odds, especially with an extra bugbear right at the door of their hiding spot, so I pulled out the fireball scroll we’d found earlier. One of the Redbrands noticed me and warned the others. The wizard disappeared, but I managed to kill a guy, damage three enemies, and destroy the bridges over the crevasse. Of course my cover was blown. The wizard reappeared, whined about me ruining his lovely welcome, and demanded I reveal myself. So I dropped my glamour and spun a story about just being an explorer who felt threatened by all the brigands, but he didn’t buy it. He said to tell my companions to show themselves, he only wanted to talk. I didn’t buy his story either, but having no choice, I first convinced the wizard to pull his people back before calling for my group to come out. Troublesome Keni, of course, was his usual sneaky self and went around another way, but the wizard knew who was with us. A bugbear dragged Keni out of hiding and tossed him in front of us.

We bantered with Glasstaff a bit, but it boiled down to he was actually Iarno, he was a pretentious villain, he knew about Grundren but didn’t know where the dwarf was, and his orders were to kill us. He specifically didn’t like me, fellow magic user that I am. The missile spell he attacked me with hurt like hell. LeShanna got off a fantastic arrow shot at one of the brigands. Keni got another with his weird luck. I’m not sure what Trabor and Baern were doing – I heard them mumbling and next thing I knew, Trabor was sailing into the crevasse with his pants sliding down. But I couldn’t focus on them, that magic missile shot did some serious damage to me, so I did a cold armor spell. Next thing I knew, though, the wizard had cast some sort of paralysis on me. I couldn’t move, but fortunately my cold armor ended up completely freezing over my next attacker. I think I freaked out Baern again with that one. (He and Trabor are both wary of my Arms of Hadar spell. Trabor keeps mentioning my black tentacles. I’m not sure whether to be peeved or … no, I think I’m peeved.)

Keni, LeShanna, and Baern kept the battle going. The bugbears on the other side of the chasm were tossing rocks and spears and eventually one and then another leapt the chasm to our side. All I could think about was what I was going to do to the wizard when I got out of this. Baern had to keep casting healing spells. When I finally broke free of the paralysis, I drank some wine to get my spirits up and jumped back into the fray. Iarno had some sort of magic shield on him so we couldn’t do much damage (although LeShanna managed to get in a good double shot). Meanwhile, Trabor managed to climb back up even with his sagging pants and pick off one of the enemies on that side. But the wizard or another enemy managed to knock him unconscious. Again. (How many knockouts can a dwarf take before suffering permanent brain damage? Would brain damage even be noticeable in Trabor?) Once we finally destroyed all of the wizard’s allies, we turned all our focus on him, but he dashed down a passageway. LeShanna leaped the chasm to stabilize Trabor and Baern suggested that we all take a short rest.

Trabor apparently had found treasure down in the chasm and a good quality long sword – which he gave to LeShanna. (Actually, as I write this, I wonder if there’s something going on with them behind the scenes. Stranger things have happened. I’m going to watch them the next few nights…)

After we recuperated, we went down the passageway and discovered it was a dead end. It didn’t make sense, so we kept poking around. I’m not sure what happened – perhaps drinking wine in the midst of battle wasn’t a good idea – but I tripped, stumbled into Baern, who stumbled into Trabor who stumbled into LeShanna, and suddenly she stumbled through a false door. And there was Glassstaff and yet more brigands. I could tell by the tone of his voice that he said some more pretentious things (I’m not sure what, since I was way in the back and my hearing is not so great anymore anyway), followed by the twang of LeShanna’s bow.The wizard was riled and paralyzed LeShanna (I HATE that spell). Keni, Trabor, and Baern did some damage to the Redbrands clustered near the door. Trabor tried another aerial attack which was actually successful – Baern wasn’t too happy about it though, since Trabor’s foot also damaged his face in the process. I still wasn’t feeling too well – the aim on my eldritch blast was terribly off. As was my dagger aim. Actually, all of us had trouble, allies and enemies alike. Two thugs rushed LeShanna while she was paralyzed and got in each other’s way. The rest of us couldn’t seem to finish off the brigands who were clearly on their last legs. It was ridiculous. But eventually Baern got the last one (somehow managing to injure Trabor’s calves in the process. Baern says it was an accident, but I’m not certain – he was quite upset about that foot to the face earlier). Then Iarno once again disappeared.

So we had our ups and downs. And I’m still not quite sure what to make of these people. (I wish Zsatha would give me more clues about why It wants me to stick with them, but as usual, Its responses are cryptic. I threw Its idol far into the woods on the way here because I was only getting vague nothingness.) This is the longest I’ve stuck around a group – I usually do a job and then I’m off to the next thing. I’m becoming a bit fond of Keni though, the rapscallion. But I sense he’s not going to be with us much longer. That’s perhaps for the best, however. We have a dangerous road ahead and his sneaky, gold-grubbing ways will likely eventually get him into more trouble than the gold is worth.

Wondering where you are and hoping you’re well (except for you, Aunt – I hope you rot in hell),

~~ Ea

P.S.

If you’re not my family and you’re reading this, I’ve placed a three-day Red Rash hex on this letter. I’ll know who you are.

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Chapter 3 - Beginner's Luck
The Forteenth day of Mirtul 1485 DR

The party decides to hide the Redbrand bodies from their bloody bar room brawl. Soon they decide to take their hostage back to the inn with them. They pretend to be taking their drunk friend upstairs and manage to trick the on lookers in the dining room. Ea, Leshanna, and Keni attempt to look casual as they talk with the son of the inn keeper, Pip Stonehill. Ea’s weird vision and idol experience has spooked the party but has also given direction to the party’s search. It appears to be a dead end as his mom tells him to go get a bath. But then Pip runs back and tells his mom about Carp Alderleaf finding a secret tunnel underneath the Transcendor Manor. This leads Keni to go and speak to lady Alderleaf while the rest of the party checks out the Townmaster’s Hall and the Shrine of Luck. The party finds out about a few disruptions in the region. They find out about orcs attacking caravans in the East side of the Triboar Trail. They also receive a request from Sister Graele to go and get some information from a Banshee near Conyberry.

The party discusses their options but find it important to go and deal with the Redbrands before the town receives backlash from their recent retaliation. Keni returns to the tavern and informs the party that the halfling boy will show them the way to the tunnel. The party enters the tunnel. Baern and Ea hear a voice inside of their head. A short dialogue begins, the party has no idea of who or what they are communicating with. Baern takes little kindness for this thing and challenges it. A battle soon rages against a nothic. The battle is relatively easy for the party. They then move to search the rest of the hideout only to hear sounds and avoid certain rooms. They find themselves, finally, entering a room with an alchemy setup. A rat runs under the table, and the party pays no attention to it. They then barricade the door and enter an adjoining room. They find it to be Glasstaff’s quarters. They find a chest full of his belongings and treasure. They also find a note from Blackspider, informing Iarno Albrek to waylay the adventurers who are assisting the dwarves from interfering with their plans. The party weighs their options as they investigate the room. This appears to be a dead end. Where do they go from here…

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Chapter 2 - A Humbling Experience
The Eleventh day of Mirtul 1485 DR

As the party attempts to rest after their recent defeat of Klarg, they find themselves confronted by a band of goblins holding Gundren’s companion, Sildar Hallwinter, hostage. The party concedes to leave the cave but is not willing to trust the goblins and continue to make their own requests. The goblins soon become tired of their continual banter and toss Sildar into the empty pools. Battle soon erupts and Trabor finds himself unconscious once again. The rest of the party deals aggressively with the goblins. Keni strikes into action as he once again attempts to get the upper hand on the treasure. He grabs a handful of silver and splits the rest with the party. As Keni is scavenging through the bodies, Ea manages to sneak a few coins off of Keni and takes his dagger as well. Sildar is rescued and the party learns some valuable information over a fire side chat. The party decides to head to Phandalin for their reward, Thinking only of the ten gold pieces that await them at Barthen’s Provision.

As they enter Phandelver, Sildar gives them instructions to meet him at the Townmaster’s Hall in the morning time and heads off. The party then finds their way to Barthen’s Provisions to get their reward. They find out about the Redbrands and where the crates they found are supposed to go. From there they split up. Leshanna, Baern, and Trabor head to the Blue Lion Coster, Ea heads to the Shrine of Luck, and Keni heads to the Sleeping Giant. The group at the Blue Lion Coster find themselves being rewarded and gaining further information. They then head to the Shrine of Luck. Ea receives a possible confirmation to stay with the party as she searches for what her fate is to be. Keni, ends up with his money bag taken and being forcefully tossed into the street. The rest of the party enjoys an excellent meal and a bit of conversation while Keni hides in the bushes waiting for the chance to get his gold back. The party finally heads out to find him and end up at the Sleeping Giant. The party’s dwarves enter the the tavern to a bit of animosity. Things are definitely not going according to plan. Moradin is mocked and Baern is more pissed than he has been in a while. His knuckles are white as he grips his warhammer. Ea disguises herself as a Redbrand and quickly moves in to deescalate things. She soon finds that she is either going to have to fight her own party or she is going to have to take action. She moves as if she is joining the Redbrands in their thuggery, only to unleash an onslaught of dark tentacles. The battle ensues and the party quickly deals with the Redbrands. Keni gets his purse back from the lead thug, and a single Redbrand is left unconscious with the inability to speak. In the aftermath of the battle, the party ponders their next move.

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Chapter 1 - The Beginning of a Beautiful Relationship
The Eighth day of Mirtul 1485 DR

As the party gathers around the table in the back of the tavern, Keni shows tell tell signs of the reason why he may have had to take this job in the first place. The party makes small talk over a few mugs of ale as Baern and Leshanna quickly realize the inexperience of some of their party and become a bit concerned. The stories and conversation continue for some time and then the party retires to their respective lodging.

The next morning the party sets out with the wagon of supplies and travels for a few days. After about a half a day on the Triboar Trail, suddenly Ea spots a couple of horses dead in the middle of the road. As Leshanna and Ea approach the horses, suddenly an arrow grazes Leshanna and sticks in the wagon. Two goblins jump out near the wagon. Keni and Trabor taste their first piece of battle. Keni manages to fire a bolt right into the first goblin’s neck, while Trabor completely misses his goblin and gets his axe stuck in the wagon. Baern steps over to teach his young dwarf companion how to be decisive in battle. With one fatal blow, Baern drives the goblins skull into the ground. Leshanna and Ea make quick work of the goblin with their magic and bow. The final goblin flees the scene. The party decides to investigate the area and finds a trail that they believe to lead to more goblins.

After a close call with a pit trap along the trail, the party arrives at the mouth of a cave. After some successful sneaking, Leshanna becomes impatient and moves forward. Her chainmail alerts a pair of goblins who are on watch behind a set of bushes. The party makes quick work of the two goblins and moves into the cave. A group of wolves are found in a room near the opening. They appear to be quite aggressive, but Trabor decides to calm the wolves with his kind words. Everything seems to be going well until Keni decides to use a lamp in a completely dark cave. As Keni climbs to the top of the fissure, he uses his lamp to shine light into the room. A bugbear, goblin, and wolf are then alerted to their presence. Things appear to be going down hill from here as the bugbear clobbers Keni with his morningstar and sends him to the bottom. Trabor manages to soften Keni’s fall, but the damage has been done.

The bugbear directs his minions and begins some old fashion dialogue with the party. Baern leads the charge with some compelling questions but receives nothing more than a charge to leave Klarg’s domain. Ea is washed out of the cave by a rushing flood and the party soon follows their companion out of the cave to discuss the way ahead. After a quick huddle to discuss their options, a group of goblins soon grab a couple of wolves and guard the entrance to the cave. After a few minutes one of the goblins encourages the party to leave by throwing a javelin at them. The party does not take this lightly, and Ea quickly moves and unleashes some otherworldly tentacles that decimates the opposition. The party, minus Keni who is hiding in the bushes, once again makes quick work of the goblins and their wolfs.

The party begins to move up the cave again when another rush of water comes rushing towards the group. Ea and Trabor manage to dive into the side passages, but this time Leshanna is washed out of the cave. At this point the whole party, minus Keni, decides to rush up the cave. Ea leads the way and finds two empty pools and a few goblins. Battle once again ensues and the party uses their various talents to deal with the threat at hand. The party is bruised and many of their resources have been depleted.

In spite of their weakened state, the party decides to push forward with their onslaught. The wolf stands watch over the entrance as the bugbear is no where to be found. Keni now moves to re-climb the fissure. after a second try up the fissure, he manages to reach the top once again. He shines his trustee light to find the bugbear behind the crates. In response he throws a bag of ball bearings across the floor. After the wolf begins to take fire it quickly moves in to attack. When Klarg sees his wolf under attack, he quickly moves in to assist his trustee companion. Keni rolls behind a set of crates and takes a shot at the bugbear before beginning to rummage in the loot. The party makes fairly quick work of klarg but Trabor takes a massive blow to the head and falls unconscious. The wolf also manages to tackle Baern who is knocked unconscious. The wolf continues to gnaw on Baern’s leg. Leshanna and Ea make repeated attempts to finish the wolf off. Finally, Ea pulls out a dagger and pierces the wolf’s head. The party stabilizes their unconscious members while Keni finds Klarg’s secret stash. He attempts to pocket a Jade Frog statuette but is confronted by the two ladies. Keni manages to present a compelling argument as to how he was just trying to help carry the loot, and the ladies give him the benefit of the doubt this time. They do maintain their suspicions even though Keni thinks he has got himself completely off the hook.

The party has defeated the leader of Cragmaw Hideout, a bugbear named Klarg. Their wounds are severe with Baern and Trabor still unconscious in the aftermath of their most recent battle. The party assesses the damage and plans their next move as Keni thinks of nothing but the new found treasure. With still more of this make shift lair to explore, will the party press on or take a rest? Their next move could be the difference between death and life for not only them but their current employer…

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Prologue - A Humble Invitation
The Third day of Mirtul 1485 DR

It’s already been dark for a couple of hours as you approach Scuttlebutt tavern. You notice a gentleman with long red hair packing satchels and tending to a couple of horses outside. You enter the Tavern to the sound of calm bardic melodies played on the lute. The lights set a relaxing mood with their yellowish tint. The mood seems more somber than usual with only a few dedicated drinkers gathered around the bar. You soon spot Gundren Rockseer and a few others gathered around a table near the back. You sit and make small talk with the group for a few minutes before the fifth member of the party arrives. Gundren abruptly stops the small talk and begins to speak. Gundren is clearly excited and more than a little secretive as he begins…

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