Day 20 – Mid morning
City of Neverwinter
Like Tar only 17 days ago, Jack Winterstorm found that adventures along the High Rd. were no longer his calling. Jack had quickly grown tired of the lifestyle of a mercenary and wanted to concentrate on his original goal of helping rebuild Phandalin, but with Sildar Hallwinter dead, Jack needed to find another like minded individual and felt that departing now while he was here in Neverwinter was a good place for him to start working on his goal.
Twenty days ago Guntor and I set out with 6 others to assist in a security escort from Neverwinter south to Phandalin. This time however our purpose is different and so are the faces we travel with, but our hunt for fortune is steadfast and as the 6 of us continued to prepare for our trip south to Phandalin, we were approached by a cloaked and hooded figure that stood about 4’6”. It was Gundrin Rockseeker who surprised us when he stated that he wouldn’t be traveling to the mines with us. He said he still wasn’t well enough to travel, but gladly gave us the necessary directions on how to find the mine. Gundren also told us that the mine is enormous and therefore we should be prepared to spend multiple days in the dark. He also mentioned that encounters with the “walking dead” are a certainty as well as Yellow Mold. He even expressed concern for the safety of his two brothers.
While the others bought supplies and visited with the local priestess, I took a moment to visit the miner’s guild and speak with Halia Thornton. She’s the same bitch I remember her being, but it turns out neither Gundrin or his brothers have a claim on the lost mines/Wave Echo Cave and with Gundrin in Neverwinter and both of brothers missing, the mines are legally up for grabs.
Day 20 – late morning
This morning we left Neverwinter with much greater spirit than what we had when we arrived for it was only a day ago when we were one man down due to the death of Amon’s, but even with the departure of Jack, today we seem as strong as ever and it was only moments after leaving the gates of Neverwinter did we run across a touchstone. 2 men were trying to strong arm people into paying a toll to cross the Thunderroot Bridge. Upon our refusal to give the 1 gp per person fee a single arrow shot out of the trees and high into the air; landing near our feet. With the assumption that we out numbered these bastard, I can’t say we took this threat too seriously. Miz’ry had already lost her patience with the two on the bridge and cast a spell that set off a chain of events that included more arrows and spells. The most impressive spell was that cast by Charlatan though. It was a bright, blue arc that struck one of the men making his limbs shoot from his torso before it became an 8’ ring of burning flesh.
With Charlatan’s demonstration of his capabilities, the remaining tough guy ran for his life with Hammer and I giving chase. We ended up in the woods when all of a sudden the tough guy stopped as if to beg for his life. Due to being a former gladiator, The Hammer must be used to this sort of begging and therefore become immune to it because he executed the bully on the spot. Hammer then scavenged the fresh corpse and found mix of copper, silver and gold coins. I must say, he’s taken to adventuring quite well and it hasn’t even been 24 hours since he started. What this guy lacks in brains he makes up for in guts.
Day 20 – Evening
The weather is starting to get cold and I can only wonder if we are in for an early winter. We reached the wayshrine where Vola prayed and Guntor summoned an owl. His yield was one of grey feathers and bright orange eyes. Guntor says the owl can be used to do recon; particularly in dark places, but my only thought at the time was how it might taste…just in case.
It was late morning when a cold, stiff breeze blew in from the Iron Sea. It woke us up as if to tell us that it’s time to get our assess moving down the High Road. At noon we finally started making our way South again. When it was starting to get dark and call it a day we found ourselves in the known goblin area along the High Road. We decided to keep moving and push ourselves all the way to Phandalin which would be about another 8 hours of travel. Having 2 horses with us made the task much easier.
It was way past sunset when we turned east onto Tribore Trail and towards the ambush site that started this whole journey. We had thought about camping, but due to our proximity to the goblin cave, we opted to force our tired legs and feet to push on to the town of Phandalin and hopefully stay at my Aunt’s farm. Walking through the ambush site I can’t help but think of the first encounter. I took two arrows and fell off the wagon before anyone on the squad had a chance to react. The same for Amon, but he was worse off and as the blood continued to leave his body, his chance for survival fast approached zero. To make matters worse, our cleric was in the same position: on the ground and incapacitated. We’re a lot more experienced now, but probably more narcissistic too.
Goblin set traps were a big concern on this part of the trail, however with 4 of us having dark vision, the cover of darkness didn’t add to the concern. Of bigger concern though was the fact that the goblin cave was only 300 yards away and we had no idea if we were in for another ambush or not.
We made it to the goblin area with out incident and when we turned South on the short trail to towards Phandalin we were dead tired for It had been 16 hours when we last had a long rest at the wayshrine.
It was 4:00 am on Day 22 as we moved through town towards my Aunt’s farm. On our way we passed the Tealeaf Social Haus; with no red candles in the widows at that hour, Reed and Dak must not be ready for business yet.
As late as it was, I was a little frightened to be knocking on Aunt Qelline’s door and asking if the 6 of us could stay for the remainder of the night. After what she had done to tied up goblins, I now know how much violence she is capable of and as caring as she is, she has almost zero patience so it goes without noting that she was about as angry as I’d ever seen her. I just can’t tell you how relieved I was to see that her kindness could eclipse her anger.
While the rest of the crew were getting supplies, or meeting with the village priestess I took the time to check with the miners guild about Gundrin’s rediscovery. Halia Thornton was helpful, but still the same snappy, snotty bitch I remember. A little fact that I uncovered and one my associates will have to remain clueless too is that neither of the Rockseeker brothers have a legal claim to the Phandelver Pact Mines, Wave Echo Cave or the Spell Forge and better is the fact that Gundrin is in Neverwinter and his two brothers are still missing; and if Sildar Hallwinter’s fate is foretelling, I wonder if the brothers will ever turn up.
After getting 8 hrs. of rest and taking care of our various business in Phandalin it was very late by the time we left the village and therefore the day only had a few hours of light left in it. That bit of time was spent walking in a southeasterly direction towards the hills and upon our arrival on the top of a hill, we made camp underneath a setting sun. The blowing wind here made our stay on this hilltop a little uncomfortable. A fire would have been welcomed, but with undead in the area, firelight was more of a negative than a positive.
The whole day I was expecting the Jones twins to lobby for a trek east to Conyberry to find the banshee named Agatha and ultimately Bogendles spellbook, but they haven’t brought up the subject since our stay in Neverwinter. I think they have their spell set minds preoccupied with the Spell Forge and are now just as eager to get to the mines as the rest of us.
It was during Mizry’ and Vola’s watch when an owlbear wandered into our camp just after midnight and from what I’m told Guntor woke up on his own while I “slept like a baby” through much of it…lying bastards! They’re just jealous that I got the kill and with only one attack by splashing oil on the already electrically charged beast; and if they took the time to wake up Hammer, why didn’t they do the same for me? I sense a possible conspiracy, but why? Are they onto the fact that there is no legal claim to the mine? I’m watching my back from this point on with these so called “friends”.
The brisk and windy weather that accompanied us as we fell asleep was there to greet us as we awoke and so where a bunch of vultures that were feasting on a rather crisp owlbear thanks to me. From our hilltop vantage point we noticed trails that had been created by miners and ss we followed them we found ourselves going up slippery rocks and routing around only to end up not far from where we started. The trails were infrequently used and as we started to run out of choices, we opted for an even less trodden path. It took us far from the others and into the late afternoon when we found ourselves on another hilltop looking at a mountain with a stone face just barely peaking over the horizon. Still a bit early we decided to make camp here instead of move on; and only a stones throw from our camp, we found a large statue of a figure with a winged helm which we identified as the Tiberian statue that Gundrin had mentioned. Now even more eager for an early start we ate our rations and were asleep before the night arrived.
Stoked over what we might discover today we were already making our way towards the stone face as the sun started to appear above the treetops, but just like a little over a week ago when we were marching through Neverwinter, our feet became cold and damp as the we foliage and condensation eventually worked its way into our boots. As we marched towards the stone face our hopes grew as much as the mountain did for we would have to tilt our heads to see the top with a degree as equally great as our forward movement. We estimated the height to be 400-500 ft. as we reached the base. According to Gundrin’s directions, from here we needed to find a pick axe and after roughly 3 hours of searching we found it once a very out of place tree branch used to help conceal the axe piqued our curiosity.
From here we counted out paces and found a very crude stone ladder that was obviously cut into the mountain by dwarves. The Hammer didn’t waste a second in starting to climb. Vola was only a few feet behind and eager to move forward, I started to climb too before we were all carefully clinging on the rock for our dear lives. Each hand and foot placement was carefully set and steady before the slightest movement of our next limb. No movement was too small as we struggled up the stone, and as if the grade wasn’t steep enough, we had the wind antagonizing us more and more the higher we climbed. It took several long minutes to climb about 150’ when the grade became less steep and we suddenly started to climb inward as the dwarven ladder ended at the top of a cave. As we peered into the cave, 60 ft. below were stalagmites, standing water, boulders and a person that was either sleeping or dead. Just as Gundrin had stated, the air form the outside flowed inward and down into cavern as if there was a vacuum but more mysterious is the repetitive, long, low booming sound.
Guntor released his owl to do reconnaissance before we all followed Hammer as he repelled down a 60’ rope and onto the cavern floor. As we reached the floor, we gathered around some supplies and the person we saw from above. This person was now in fact a corpse of a dwarf…a dwarf with a very strong likeness to Gundrin Rockseeker. Miz’ry examines the body and from the multiple cuts on it she determined that he was killed about a week ago. Miz’ry then notices that the dwarf was wearing magical boots made by Delmorham to aid in running and jumping.
The cavern has two area with a 20 foot drop separating them and a mine shaft can be seen below lower portion of the cavern. This 20 foot drop appears to have been dug out after the mine below it was built — probably by the Rockseeker brothers, so I can only wonder if there is second entrance to this place.
With this mine shaft in sight, Guntor’s owl again takes flight and goes off into even greater darkness. Upon the owls return, we proceed into the same darkness without torch or lamp light. Being the only ones who can’t see in the dark, Guntor and I slowed progress for we had to form a procession with us blindly holding on as we meandered through the maze like mine shafts. With Hammer on point, our curiosity directed our heading as we followed the continuous booming sounds and had I been as deaf as I was blind, I’d have been totally lost.
We had been warned of zombies, but this place was thick with bugbears; two separate encounters so far and the combination of oil and fire is making short work of them as it did the owlbear last night. In the first battle Charlatan use a scroll that sent fireballs into an oil drenched area created by Guntor. With an incredible sound, a big ball of flame sucked much of the oxygen out of the room stunning everyone so much that the two smouldering yet surviving bugbears surrendered. I must say that The Hammer is really living up to his name. He landed 3 critical blows in a row due to acute percision. His knot on the head may keep him from driving the horse team, but he sure can pull the weight.
During a short rest we had the opportunity to interrogate and rummage. We learned of a green flaming, flying skull and found some Tiberian coins that were made of electrum. …And where ever there are electrum coins, platinum coins are probably not too farway…at least that’s my theory. The two surviving bugbears seemed sincere in their offer to help lead us to their leader, the Black Spider, but like all humanoids, these two had integrity issues. Another battle with 4 additional bugbears resulted in the same outcome as the 1st. Only 2 bugbears survived another of our oil & fire approaches to combat and fled down a shaft into a room where they closed a stone door.
*_Day 24 – Early afternoon
Phandelver Pact Mines