Hacklab

Kheg's Secret Diary
Session 6 (Days 16 to 20)

Day 16 (early afternoon)
Cragmaw Castle (Dor Navra)

With the battle in the dining hall complete, Amon alotted a short rest. During this rest Vola removed Jack from the castle and was to stay with him out of harms way until he was fully recovered. With the short rest complete, it was time for us to search for Gundrin Rockseeker and with Vola gone for the day I couldn’t have been more thrilled. Justice is a thorn in the side of productivity, and Vola’s constant “reminders” are wearing me thin. Without the need to nurse Vola’s sensitivities, storming through Cragmaw Castle and laying waste to the opposition should be more constructive.

Amon’s call for a silent search and extraction operation worked well for what eventually ended up looking like a bugbear and goblin convetion at a resort. A couple series of bell ringing could be heard, but Amon believing they weren’t a call-to-arms felt it best to avoid moving in the direction of the tolling. After a short distance into our sweep, we came upon a door that Guntor overheard a couple bits of valueable information being discussed on the other side. The words “Prisoner” and “Black Spider”, although chililng were also a relief by ensuring us that the 6 days or so of travel in the almost constant rain was worth all the grief. With the fear of things getting too ugly too soon, Amon felt it best to avoid this room until we were able to locate Gundrin and he wondered if Gundrin would be found in a dungeon.

With Amon calling on Guntor to be the point man, we were fearlessly led door to door, passing through storage rooms, barracks and even a rat infested hallway. At each door Guntor would listen and Amon would direct our next move. We managed to avoid being spotted…at least until a most crucial point.

We came upon a solid, hardwood door strapped in iron, and although this door wasn’t much different than many others, this particular one was locked. Putting my thieves tools to work, the door opened up into a very large room in a tower. There were furs and carpets on the walls and floors, warrior/hunting trophies, a table and chairs; and what looked to be a very comfortable bed. In short it was a room fit for a king.

Upon entering the room we were greeted with an ever increasingly familiar growl and comming into our line of site was a creature with clear intentions. Fortunately our attacker was viewed as less of a threat than a nuisance. Miz’ry moves into the room and with an eldritch blast almost retires a wolf from guard duty. I followed up with an arrow in its hind quarter, but it was Charlatan who got the kill by cooking the wolf with magic.

Accompanying the wolf on the floor while its smell of burnt flesh and fur lingering in the air was a prisoner and this prisoner — a dwarf — looked to have been beaten multiple times. With Gundrin Rockseeker having finally been found after 13 days of captivity, it was now time to save a life rather than exstinguish one, but the squad had other priorities that Amon reminded us all of. This whole situation’s root cause was a map; a map that was believed to lead to incredible wealth.

As the other 4 searched for valuble items in the kings quarters, it was this scoundrel rogue who tended to the medical needs of an unconscious dwarf. I can’t say I’m surprised at seeing how potential wealth quickly changes the compassion humanoids feel for one another, but at least this halfling can pat himself on the back knowing he put compassion ahead of fortune. The other 4 should be ashamed of themeselves, but in their defense, without Vola there wasn’t much we could do for the poor fellow anyhow.

Leaving Gundrin be while we continued the search for the much needed map we moved towards another door. With a search for traps and none to be found the door to a bathing room was opened. Most notable was a big brass tub with a thick layer indicating that the king of this castle had no self dignity. In comparision, the 6 or so days in the rain were making this operation inside a rather enjoyable tour of the ruins of Dor Navra and had it not been for 2 approaching figures, it might have stayed that way.

Only a moment after entering the king’s bath did the king himself and a drow elf companion get our attention and from the very start we could see that we were in big trouble as a slender, young drow made use of her shortsword. She worked effortlessly and with such confidence that a any green warrior would have craped his armor. It was exciting to watch such a lovely, young creature be so brutally violent, but my lust quickly faded as as she sank her shortsword into Guntor.

With the bitches dagger now blood red, my focus on combat pushed aside my lust. I knew that if I wanted to live, trying to out weild her in swordsmanship was not a good bet. Leaving it up to the others to deal with the bugbear king, I made use of range by pulling the string on my shortbow. With two quick arrows in that bitch, I was starting to feel confident on the the outcome, but then the beauty finally started using her brains and made use of the walls for cover. This propelled me to move closer looking for line of sight and as I waited, I blended into my surrounding as best I could.

Amon produces an Eldritch Blast on the menacing bugbear that struck him in his throat. Having difficulty breathing the threat toppled over. With hell having already been broken loose with a powerful bugbear, dexterious drow and now 3 approaching gobblins, things continued to go amiss. Like the bugbear Amon just wasted, he succumbed to his injuries and fell on to his back as his life circled the drain.

The black skinned drow came with an arms reach of me. Wanting to stay hidden I punched at what I was hoping would be a kidney, but kidney or not, it worked about as well as landing a fist on a glass jaw because princess doubled over. With only 4 mercenaries still standing and both Mizry and Guntor severely injured, the situation against 3 goblins and a very bloody, but extremely capable Drow elf turned into a helter skelter type retreat as Guntor grabbed the dwarf over his commander Amon and headed towards a hole in the exterior wall of the adjacent room. Miz’ry scrambled for the same hole and in doing so turned a potential cat fight between the two pretty, evil, drow broads into a mere fantasy.

Seeing the potential for the squad to get split up in the ensuing chaos, it was agreed that all parties would meet at the wayshrine on the High Rd. in about two days time. Charlatan then made his move for the exit, but I still wasn’t ready to go. I wanted the map and had every intention of finding it before the squad wrote this mission of as a partial victory. With Amon certain to die on the floor of the castle in the middle of nowhere, only a full victory could help make Amon’s impending reality more bearable.

With the bugbear out of commission and princess close to death, I hoped to even the odds and pepper the bitch with more arrows. Due to failing to tag princess for the second time in a row and the proximity of her goblin support, I finally gave in to reality and looking back as I made my way towards the hole, I could see Amon Arkan’s fate as the bitch sunk a dagger in his eye.

Amon you poor bastard…Guntor left if up to a 40 lb halfing with considerably less than average strength to carry you to safety. You were shit out of luck at the wrong place and time. …See you in hell my friend.

Upon exiting Dor Navra, we were quickly able to regroup with Vola and Jack without any opposition. Due to all our injuries, we decided that recovery in Neverwinter was our best option. The liberation of Gundrin Rockseeker after 13 days of brutal captivity didn’t go over as well as one could have hoped; certainly not Amon Arkham anyhow, and with our squad commander dead and Gundrin’s map unfound, we’re at a low point, as we started to head west for the High Road as the cold, autumn rain continued to fall. More crushing to myself was that we didn’t find Glasstaff as I had expected, but with the map still in possession of the opposition, I hope to run across Iarno Albreck in the Phandelver mines.

The remainder of the Day 16 just seemed to fuse in with the following two days of westward movement across the Sword Coast. Although the rain had eventually ceased, dark clouds still hung over our heads but these particular clouds aren’t the kind that dispel so easily.

Days 17
It was a long quiet march westward and I not being fond of military life felt it nice not to have to take orders anymore, but the following two days of silence were a constant reminder of our harsh reality: cutting losses can sever bonds. I couldn’t help but wonder what each one of us would have done if they were in Guntor’s position, and I’m sure glad it wasn’t me who had to make that tough decision. Amon…loyalty and friendship, or Gundrin and potential wealth? It’s a tough call as far as I’m concerned and I wonder if Guntor’s decision is going to have a recoil effect on the squad members trust in each other. The silence we experience now seems to indicate that I’m not the only one asking this question.

Day 18
The somber feeling that has followed us weighed us down in such a way that our pace was slower on the return trek from Cragmaw Castle. The sun was now setting behind the wayshrine on the High Rd. and though the mood was solemn, the sunset we viewed was spectacular. I think the whole experience of the sun dipping into the Iron Sea as Vola and Guntor prayed at the shrine helped bring some closure to each of us.

Day 19
We awoke at the wayshrine and quickly pack up for the short trip north to our destination. The smell of Neverwinter as foul as it is, is a bouquet of roses in comparison to the squalid goblin liar of Cragmaw Castle. Once through the gates, we beelined to the familiar Weeping Moth, but still not finished with Iarno Albreck, I was set on finding some Northern Sons to speak with since it’s known that they are looking for Iarno as well. I have high hopes in allying with them and discovering that the Sons often stay at the Crimson Blade. In hopes of making contact with the Sons, I got a room at the Blade.
The more I get to know Charlatan the more devious he seems. He’s always got something up his sleeve that’s both fun and rewarding. He was kind enough to invite me to experience an impromptu evening of scamming the biggest traders on the Sword Coast and with Charlatan as my guide, I knew it would be a lucrative evening. Charlatan even had a major effect on his once polished aide Peabody because he went from straight laced servant to deadbeat in just 5 short nights.

The three of use looked rather dapper as we made our way around the events, but as I watched the Moon spectacle, I felt very uncomfortable the whole time as my little halfling friend was making me feel quite inadequate. Although I did give the performance a standing ovation so to speak, it was the Chynovian acrobats that that got my applause.

As the evening rolled into early morning, Charlatan the social butterfly introduced me to an upcoming dwarven fighter known as The Hammer. He seems like a real cocky bastard for such an inexperienced fighter and his habit of always referring to himself in 3rd person removes much of any doubt about his cockyness. With his ego larger than his dwarven frame, I can’t say he won’t fit in with the rest of the squad, but Charlatan is going to have to work on getting a larger carriage if were going to fit The Hammer’s head in it.

Day 20
Last night’s events were something else. Gotta hand it to Charlatan for knowing how to stir things up yet still keeping thihgs calm. My hat goes off to you.

It’s now mid morning and I predict this morning won’t be different than many others. We’ll argue about where to go only to find that our individual abilities to persuade aren’t as sharp as our swords. We’re going to need an executive decision again, but we have no executive with Amon roasting in eternal hell.

Just a morbidly interesting note here: Upon the sweep of the Redbrands hideout, Amon opted not to visit Gragmaw Castle believing that Gundren had probably been killed already. 10 days later, upon finding Gundrin alive, Amon is immediately killed by Gundren’s captors. Did Amon foresee his own destiny and try to avoid the unavoidable?

Day 20 – mid morning
City of Neverwinter
Weeping Moth Inn

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Session 5
Days 11 - 16

Day 11 (2:00 AM)
Thundertree

As Day 11 was just getting started, the dragon cultists were already well into their evil worship. At 2:00 am the mercenaries heard a lot of chanting and upon looking out the window they could see 7 cultists making their way towards the old tower carrying lit candles as they escorted a heavily restrained dragonborn. Amon felt that they should be followed and his crew was more than eager to do it, but all 7 mercenaries were too much for what required a stealthy operation on a quiet evening so Kheg was ordered to sneak behind them and report back his findings. By all account, upon hearing the order Kheg just seemed to vanish in the blink an eye as he made his way in the direction of the cultists.

At the tower, Kheg found a hiding place with a great vantage point of what he assumed was going to be a sacrifice. Kheg was even close enough to hear the sacred chants and the sounds of fear that came from the metallic dragonborn. As the cultist continued their sacred activity of chants and prayers, they opened the doors of the tower to see an inspiring green dragon about the size of two warhorses slowly make its way out and into the semicircle of 7 candles set before it. As inspiring as it was it didn’t overshadow the feeling of fear that already filled the atmosphere and adding to it all were its eyes; gold pupils set in pitch black fields that closed vertically as to silently say “don’t fuck with me”; and just as black and as chilling were the long, sharp claws at the end its green talons.

Once in the circle things quickly spiraled downward for the cult. Without understanding a word, Kheg could see the absolute fear that filled the cult leader with his trembling and squeaking voice adding to the scene. It was obvious that Venomfang was displeased and had little patience for incompetence, but over what? Kheg could only guess Venomfang was displeased with his offering, but as far as he’s concerned it isn’t need-to-know information either.

Venomfang quickly drew tired of his chat with the leader and then ensured that the leader’s incompetence wouldn’t be repeated. Venomfang took a single black claw and skewered the cultist in the chest. The cultist was then held high as to be made an example of. He then became what would become Venom Fang’s appetizer. The dragon did however spit out the cultists hammered, metal, dragon mask which Kheg looked fondly at taking.

With the cult leader just teasing the dragons palate it was now onto the main course. Kheg liked to think he had balls, but after watching the dragonborn accept his fate with such courage, Kheg is now rethinking the whole concept. Kheg’s only other thought was “It’s better you than me” and with that thought he wiped his brow and started breathing again for the first time in 5 minutes.

With the night going woefully wrong for the cult, things turned around when a cultist who identified himself as Rondello was brazen enough to speak to his master. Rondello had a plan he believed would interest his Venomfang since it involved horded treasure; feeding on dragonborn and hunting humans. Speaking up in the same voice that his prior leader used only a moment ago, Rondello respectfully made a “request” to his master and from here he laid out a plan that he believed would ultimately free the “Dark Lady”. This “Dark Lady” he speaks of is a 5 headed dragon named Tiamat and according to legend, this “dark Lady has been imprisoned for years.

The basis of his plan was simple: hunt humans and hoard treasure. With his master well feed on dragonborn and in the comfort of great treasure, Rondello believed a network of similar operations could help in ultimately freeing the Dark Lady and that perhaps many inherently evil would benefit from her freedom.

Upon Rondello’s completion of his pitch, Venom Fang seemed eager and dictated that Rondello, his newly appointed agent of evil was to answer as “Worm” and that Worm is to return in 5 nights and every 5th night there after with a new sacrafice. Worm’s fellow cultists, now being referred by Venomfang as “Spores” rallied around Worm and congratulated their champion as if he had saved their lives, and from what Kheg witnessed, Worm probably did.

Once the spores had left the area to return to their cottage, Kheg eagerly picked up the discarded dragon mask and brought it back to Reidoth’s home. When the sun finally rose from behind overcast, dark clouds, discussion on what to do quickly followed…continue on to Cragmaw Castle, or rid the Sword Coast of Venomfang and her spores? The discussions called for another executive decision by Amon and he decided that the team’s next step was to revisit the spore’s cottage, but unfortunately nothing came out of this visit, because Worm had zero desire to speak with Amon.

It was now late morning when Amon gave a new directive: the team was to finally head to Cragmaw Castle to see if they could locate Gundrin Rockseeker and recover his map to an unknown location, but with this new day came another delay. Just as the team was walking out the door Reidoth asked a favor of Guntor. He requested that a message be delivered to Foss Baylie of Neverwinter and by the time Reidoth had completed this message it was past noon and Neverwinter was a half day in the opposite direction of the Cragmaw Castle.

While heading west along the river towards High Rd., Guntor pointed out an interesting landmark. It was a stone formation in the shape of two men on horseback. Upon reaching the High Road, it was getting dark so the team made camp that included a fire.

The sun rose on Day 12 and after moving north on the High Rd., by mid morning the crew managed to reach Neverwinter. Some thought the smell approaching the city was horrible with its multitude of industrial aromas mixed in the air only to linger above, but to others it was a sign they had arrived home after 12 days of fighting, walking and camping. As the mercenaries entered the city they dispersed to allow each member to conduct their own personal business.

In the evening, the mercenaries found rooms at various inns and for the first time in 12 days they didn’t sleep in a barn, camp at the side of a road, or on a cottage floor.

In the morning of day 13, as the party gathered to start their trek south, Charlatan rolls up in a flamboyantly opulent carriage pulled by a couple of draft horses; a set that he had won while running a game the prior evening. Kheg having a criminal background felt both pride and envy since his day wasn’t near as fruitful. Charlatan stepped out of his obnoxiously posh ride looking grungy and therefore very out of place for such luxury, but as the other 6 joined him, the whole image of wealth became as tainted as the carriage became stained. It was clear there wasn’t enough room for all 7, but with a little ingenuity by putting Kheg on the roof, someone on horseback and another hanging on the back, the two horses managed to pull the overloaded vehicle towards the edge of town with decent speed. Once on the main road, the team veered south and into a rainstorm.

What would have certainly been a miserable rainy day, the posh carriage made for a day long party and by evening the team had reached the way shrine where they met a trader doing business with Lion Shield. Most interesting was the circle of stones at the shrine though. The ground inside of the circle was dry, but outside of the circle the ground was very wet from the prior rain. A camp was made here.

More rain came down on day 14 as 6 of the crew were breaking down camp and preparing for the long trip ahead. Charlatan just sat quietly and tooled around with a dagger he came in possession of. He said he was trying to become “attuned” to what would become known as Flitterswitch, the Dagger of Displacement. If Charlatan was serious or just a lazy bastard who found a convenient excuse for taking it easy was anyone’s guess, but Kheg couldn’t help but think to himself how much more “attuned” Charlatan would be if 6 of his mates each planted a foot in ass.

The party had camped at the point in the High Road where they needed to diverge and head east on a wet, grassy plain. This was a lot different than going south because they wouldn’t be traveling on a road, thus Charlatan’s carriage needed to be left behind. With all dead weight needing to be cut, It was a sad necessity, but all of the equipment was unloaded and the 2 draft horses were rounded up for the two day trek east. As preparation continued, Charlatan continued to amuse himself with his new dagger.

As they made their way east, Guntor was unexpectedly educating himself on why mercenaries carry as little as possible. Loaded like a fortress due to his prior day’s spending spree in Neverwinter, Guntor was stumbling due to over encumbrance and it became a problem for the entire group since a team is only as fast as their slowest man. Even Kheg at 3’6” had an easier time keeping pace trudging through the thick, wet grass and dense underbrush. After much huffing and puffing; and tripping and stumbling the falling fortress transferred much of his weight to Charlatan’s draft horses. With the team now proceeding with a quicker pace, Charlatan continued to toss, and twirl Flitterswitch and was starting to do so with uncanny precision and speed.

Cold rain was coming down as the crew moved eastward. Along the way Guntor pointed out some bright blue colored berries known as skyberries and stated that they benefited health, but only for a very limited time. Fortunately there were enough berries for each mercenary to receive one.

Upon waking up on Day 15, the party could see that they were near the edge of Neverwinter Wood and in just a short time the mercenaries had breached the treeline. They quickly found that no matter how many birds chirped, the trudging through the dark forest with its thick canopy and even thicker underbrush and pine needle littered surface could have never turned their hike into a walk in the park. Even here Charlatan continued to become attuned to is dagger. With each mile walked, Charlatan prowess with Flitterswitch grew as he continued to balance and flip the dagger. The two were seemingly becoming one as Charlatan would toss the dagger high into the air and then catch it without even looking.

The evening of Day 15 was considerably warmer than the prior evenings giving the party a good rest.

On Day 16 as the party woke up, they found themselves in a clearing in Neverwinter Wood and although there was a break in the trees, there was no break in the rain. Once again they packed up camp and trudged eastward as their feet sunk into the thick, wet underbrush. What was bone dry for much of the season had now become a saturated, green hell with the autumn rain that fell more often than not. It had rained into the noon when the mercenaries found themselves at the foot of a hill. They climbed the steep embankment for a better view of the land and at the top, they got even more than they had hoped for. A spectacular view opened up as they found themselves on a ridge at a much higher altitude than they had believed, and at their feet was a mile long, oval shaped valley with a man made structure of stone at the other end.

Following the ridge line towards this structure the squad could see that time was taking its toll on what was clearly a castle. As the team continued their approach they spotted a party of 10 goblins pulling a sled. They silently watched as the rain continued to come down and the goblins eventually made their way inside the castle using the south entrance. Us of the south entrance prompted Amon to call for breach via the north section and with that the team descend down onto lower ground and ultimately to what would be the rear of the castle – the north wall.

Now facing the rear, the order was stealth. Even without seeing goblins enter the structure, with all of the filth around it, it was obvious that it was a goblin liar. The stench here was was worse than the decaying corpses of goblins and horses that the team had the displeasure of walking through 9 days ago while on Triboar Trail.

Looking for the best way in, the party went around to the east wall and everywhere they looked it was the same: human bones; piles of rubble from the castle’s walls; piles of goblin garbage and worse were the piles of goblin shit. Upon spotting an entry that Amon believed had good potential, he ordered Kheg to approach stealthily and with that order Kheg became undetectable as he approached the entrance to a narrow passageway.

The Halfling snuck under a tower’s archer slit. At his point Kheg could overhear what was clearly arguing from overhead, but he was unable to hear well or even understand what could be heard so Kheg continued on to the objective point, a narrow passageway.

This passage was short and at the other end was an iron door. Approaching cautiously, Kheg listened at the door. With nothing heard, Kheg made his way back down the passage and signaled the rest of the party to move forward. With the whole team now in the passage, Vola opens up the door after being picked by by the rogue. Upon opening it, Vola could tell that the door was heavily used. The lack of rust made yielded easy movement and the absence of squeal, and if that wasn’t enough, the amount of goblin shit in the passageway backed up Vola’s suspicions phenomenally well.

Inside there was even more shit to be found as Vola lead the way to another door that she found to be unlocked. The whole party could now hear arguing in goblin tongue, but no one on the team was able to understand what was being said. As the team continued to move forward they found that the hallway led into a large dining area with 6 seated goblins and 2 standing. The dining residents who were arguing amongst themselves were startled by the sudden appearance of uninvited guests hungry for battle.

Upon spotting an extra fat goblin across the table, Amon was the first to attack by putting a hex on him. Following the warlock was the sorcerer Charlatan who turned a goblin bloody. Kheg tried a new tactic and threw a net over a seated goblin tangling him up. Guntor wasn’t to be out done and was the first to make a kill with an arrow from his longbow. Miz’ry followed that slaying up with one of her own by using her favored spell, the Eldritch Blast where a bright, blue, icey arc shot into the chest of her target. Jack showed off his strategizing ability as he threw a bunch of caltrops in one section of the room thus making a counterstrike with melee weapons from that area nearly impossible. Copying from Miz’ry’s book of combat was Amon with an Eldritch Blast on the same fat target he hexed prior. His blast wasn’t as pretty as Miz’ry’s, but it had the same result none the less. Charlatan cast a firebolt with minimal damage. Leaving the netted goblin be, Kheg focused on the one seated to the right and got a kill with one of his two shortswords. Guntor made a second kill with his bow.

With Jack on one side, Vola moved into flanking position, but missed her target. At this point there were 3 active targets and one of them was tangled up in Kheg’s net. With a yell for goblin reinforcements, the mercenaries knew this battle was far from over, but the call didn’t faze Miz’ry as she killed the netted goblin with yet another Eldritch Blast. At this point Amon made it clear that his team was to kill all of the goblins, but with only two still alive, and 6 killed in just about 14 seconds, it was pretty clear his squad was already thinking the same thing.

Once the assault at the dining table was complete more goblins voices could be heard. Thinking quickly, Guntor and Vola overturned a table to block entry. With its width about as wide as the goblins were tall, the table made for a good barrier; just not perfect because out out of the dark came an arrow that plunged into Guntor. Using her night vision, the half drow named Miz’ry could see 3 goblins with bows and with a sudden burst of magic, the head of one started smoking as the warlock’s Eldridge Blast fried his brain.

Charlatan’s foot found a tripwire and with that came stone and timber from above. The half drow’s other half must be Halfling because Charlatan managed to go unscathed by leaping back in the nick of time. The sorcerer was now starting to wonder how long his luck would hold out as he could see a goblin accompanied by 2 hobgoblins armed with longswords and longbows quickly approach from down the hall that he was now standing in. With the hall being dark and half of the mercenary team unable to see anything, Amon threw a torch down it. Now well lit, Jack threw a javelin that punctured a hobgoblin’s chest.

With his two shortswords now sheathed, Kheg climbed to the top of the rubble pile created by Charlatan’s foot. From here Kheg drew his shortbow and aimed it down the hall at the approaching hobgoblin. Vola also moved into a more strategic position and Miz’ry went uninjured as two arrows shot by her. The half drow immediately countered by lighting up a goblin. Still alive at this point were two hobgoblins wearing chainmail and carrying shields, and upon seeing how successful Miz’ry was with eldritch blasting, Amon followed suit. From atop the debris pile, Kheg sent an arrow from his bow, but failed to draw blood as the arrow struck a hobgoblin’s chainmail only to be deflected. Guntor and Vola overturned a second table for cover.

With potentially less targets for the single standing goblin to choose from, he focused on Miz’ry and let a black feathered arrow dart across the room. Kheg on the other hand became the target of a rock throwing goblin and as humorous as it were, Kheg stopped laughing after being hit. The little goblin’s bravery was not is short supply either; he was preparing to throw another stone when Jack Winterstorm startled him as he made his way to the top of the debris pile next to Kheg. Just as Charlatan was inflicting some damage, the hobgoblins, with shields left behind, advanced with “martial advantage”.

Things were going well for the team…too well if you believe it’s possible to be too lucky and Jack’s luck ran short. He took on serious wounds but was still able to swing his sword, and upon missing an opponent with back to back swings, it seems that his injuries might have been too great. With a reloaded shortbow, Kheg missed his target and in return, his target — the rock thrower — tried to pelt Kheg once again. Overcome with poor aim the little goblin wasted no time in rearming himself and as he stood at the base of the rubble. With his arm cocked back and his aim set on Kheg, his tiny head received one hell of a jolt as a firebolt from Charlatan passed clear through. With the rock thrower now dead, all that was left alive were 2 hobgoblins and one of the two was seriously wounded.

With the fight not yet over, Miz’ry continued to use the E.B. spell, but Jack’s fight was just getting started. Whether it was prior injuries; bad luck; the lack of concentration; or all of the above, Jack Winterstorm took a phenomenal strike that put his life in the hands of his god as well as his friend Vola. Through Vola’s compassion, Jack would stand once again and in the paladin’s untiring dedication to her work she continued to ensure Jack was at/near full health. Once the battle was over, Amon gave his team a short rest.

Day 16 (1:00 PM)
Cragmaw Castle

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Session 4
Days 6-11

Day 6; late afternoon
Aderlead Farm

It was late in the day of Day 6, just after a largely successful raid on the Redbrand hideout when the team returned to the farm to find that Dak Tealeaf had decided to take up his enterprising cousin Reed’s offer of partnership in a start up venture – running a brothel in Phandalin.

In the evening, Kheg asked his Aunt Qelline Alderlead for more details on the druid in Thundertree named Reidoth. Qelline explained to the party that he was extremely knowledgeable in the geography of the Sword Coast and could be of great help if the squad needed location information.

In the morning of Day 7, Sister Graylie came to the farm to speak with Amon. She had an assignment she wanted the squad to take regarding a banshee who lived in the village of Conyberry. Sister Graylie explained that a spell book written by a wizard named Bogentle is wanted and that this banshee who is named Agatha may know where it is. She further explained that Agatha has a high regard for vanity and could be persuaded to give the squad the information they seek if they gave her a gift of vanity. Upon saying this, Sister Graylie pulled jeweled comb from her hair and handed it to Amon. Upon Sister Graylie’s departure, the team discussed all of their options on what to do now that the Redbrands have been eradicated.

With Gundrin, his brothers as well as Glasstaff — aka Iarno Albreck — still missing and the town interested in the rediscovery of the Phandelver Pact Mine, locating Kragmaw Castle even with the help of Reidoth wasn’t such an easy task. It would take 3 days to reach Reidoth’s home and the squad felt that they didn’t have the time to spare. There were orc problems in Ybrin Tor; a cave filled with goblins putting fear into the town’s people; and now a special request from Sister Graylie that all needed the attention and skills of the team.

As the team discussed their options; they argued throughout the morning. Guntar wanted to go to Thundertree. Kheg felt they should try to find Kragmaw Castle and ultimately free Gundrin Rockseeker although his true intention was his suspicion that they would find Glasstaff there. Jack wanted to find the goblin liar and put a stop to the problems they have been causing the people of Phandalin. The spell casting Jones twins were more interested in going to Conyberry in hopes of finding Bogentle’s spell book. With the party so split on choosing a quest, Amon made an executive decision and decided that the team would visit Kragmaw Cave.

After a quick stop at the supply store, it was noon by the time the team left Phandalin and headed towards Tribore Trail. As the party traveled on foot and reached the trail, they could see that the clouds were starting to get dark and it wasn’t long after they stated heading west that it started to rain.

After a half day of travel in the rain, the party had the added displeasure of approaching an area with an awful stench. Moments later the team came upon two dead horses and the corpses of 4 goblins and upon realizing that these are the goblins they had slain 4 days prior, the party knew it was time to head north into the woods.

Finding the cave didn’t take long and as the crew waited in the woods, Amon stealthily moved forward towards the entrance. Upon no sign of goblin guards, the rest of the team moved forward as the rain poured. Upon entering the cave the crew encountered 3 wolves that had been chained up. With all of the barking that and growling that the wolves made with the proximity of the team, it was clear that they needed to be silenced in order for the team to keep their advantage of surprise. The party found a dead human male about 50 years of age. It appears that the naked athletic body had been abused and that he died a day or two ago. It also appeared that his death was due to loss of blood. Guntar suspected that it’s the body of Sildar Hallwinter. Leaving the corpse behind, the party came upon a bridge that didn’t look to safe to cross. They took their chance and crossed without incident. A short time later they were in a cavern that was stocked with crates and a single goblin was going through them. The goblin was startled by the squad’s approach, but it seems to have been more startled by the fact that he got caught red handed rather than the presence of the team.

Charlatan was able to speak with the goblin and he was told that more goblins could be expected to return to the cave at any moment. Upon hearing this Amon gave the order to vacate the cave system immediately . Guntar argued over this in puzzlement since the whole purpose of coming to the caves was to slay goblins and that vacating the caves made the half day trek in the rain a pointless waste of time. Kheg agreed and felt that interrogating the goblin about the dead human and the location of Kragmaw Castle was necessary. However, due to the fear of an impending fight with the goblins, the team exited the cave.

Now out of the cave the team decided that a visit to Kragmaw Castle was finally in order, but the map drawn by the goblin named Droop who is now deceased by the hands of Qelline Alderlead, wasn’t enough help; the squad needed assistance and believed that the druid Reidoth was their best hope. Reidoth lived in Thundertree – a 3 day journey north toward Neverwinter. It was night and the team needed to make camp near the trail. It was known that Stirges who are common in the Sword Coast are attracted to light so Charlatan suggested that they don’t light a fire in fear of attracting any unwanted company. The night was uneventful and so was the the following day (#8) except for the sighting of the cloud city and the winged humans called Antelonians that inhabited it.

During the morning of Day 9 while walking north along the High Road, the squad comes upon a wayside shrine that was occupied by two humans in plate mail. They were Brothers of the Northern Suns, a pseudo military order against orcs and they did their best at trying and rattle Vola’s cage, but as Vola said, she “turned the other cheek” and what had the potential for a volatile encounter went over very smoothly. Kheg was surprised to hear the men mention Iarno Albreck and sensed that in order to get more information from them on what they knew about Albreck, he’d have to give up some too. With the others in fear of telling the men about what they know of Albreck and his exploits with the Redbrands, Kheg didn’t care and was determined to learn all he could no matter the consequence. It was a big gamble, but as far as Kheg was concerned learning that his foe Glasstaff is on the Seat of Neverwinter was well worth any animosity it may have created between him and the rest of the squad.

On Day 10, in the very early morning hours, while it was still dark, Miz’ry, Charlatan and Jack were on watch when a pack of 5 wolves appeared. Kheg was still asleep when one of the wolves attacked him, but armed with great dexterity and halfling luck, he managed to avoid a lunge for his throat. Charlatan wasn’t as lucky though and once again become incapacitated. Guntar’s medical skills came in handy as he managed to stabilize Charlatan.

As the group reached a large, wooden bridge, Guntar tells the party that they are about to cross over the Thunderoot River and that the origin of the river is near Thundertree. Seeing this bridge had a real impact on Guntar because after two solid days of traveling on foot, he suddenly starts to bring up some pretty significant things about Thundertree. The eventual disclosure of rumors of a dragon and Ashe Zombies as being potential encounters made a very uncomfortable final leg on their journey.

Before entering the village, the party did a perimeter survey of it first and as they made their way all eyes were kept on the tower that they believed might house a nesting dragon. It turns out the teams fear is a reality, because the team ran across some mask wearing cultists that “watch” as they say, the green, evil, acid spitting dragon named Venom Fang. After visiting with the cultist and getting the low down on Venom Fang, they departed with unsettling and mixed feelings about the cult and what to do about the dragon since it is a menace.

The party made their way to Reidoth’s “old brown house” as they Guntar tried to drum up support for dragon slaying operation and if this wasn’t enough he also tried to drum up support to rid the village of its Ashe Zombies population too. The party made it to Reidoth’s 1 room home before dark and was given warm reception. Reidoth eager gave Amon the location data to Kragmaw Castle, and also invited the team to share his home for the night. At 2:00 am (Day 11), the mercenaries witnessed two men headed in the direction of the old tower and both of them where wearing masks.

Day 11; 2:00 am
Thundertree, home of Reidoth

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Session 3
Day 6

Day 6; Early morning; Aderlead Farm

With Dak passed out, Amon, Kheg, Charlatan, and Charlatan’s twin sister Miz’ry get word from Carp Alderlead that the Redbrands suspect Amon Arkham to be responsible for the prior day’s slayings of 3 of their own as well as 3 bugbears in the cellar of Tresendar Manor. Glasstaff has instructed his Redbrands to start fires and destroy businesses in order to flush Amon out of hiding.

Fearing more destruction is to come, the squad felt it best to go into town; find the Redbrands and quell all of the chaos. Amon, while in disquise, led his team into town and as they hoped, they ran across a trio of Redbrands. Charlatan was able to persuade them that he and Miz’ry be taken to meet with Glasstaff. Upon being escorted to the hideout entrance, Amon and Kheg stealthily follow. As Charlatan and Miz’ry climbed down the stairs at the cave entrance, one of the 3 Redbrands stayed outside to guard the entrance and he was holding a crossbow.

Amon and Kheg take advantage of the situation and ambush the thug. Amon wastes no time in bloodying the crossbowman by casting a spell. As Amon continues to take out the guard, a Redbrand came out of the hideout and focuses on Kheg in a hack-and-run chase along the treeline of the woods. Amon finishes off the crossbowman and watches him hit the ground and out of sight fall as he tumbles down the steps of the hideout entrance. Mean while Kheg becomes bloody as he continues to be pursued. Amon kills a second thug and the one hunting down Kheg is finished off with an Eldridge Bolt cast from one of the Jones twins.

With the melee now complete the group heads back to the center of town. It is here that the squad finds 3 more Redbrands; one of which is armed with a crossbow. Kheg hits one with an arrow; Amon puts a hex on one, and Charlatan, well…he gets hit by a couple of shortswords and hits the ground incapacitated. After taking another shot with his shortbow, Kheg uses stealth for cover. Miz’ry was able to frighten the two remaining Redbrands.

Once the melee was over the party ran across Jack and Guntar who had both been away for a day. Accompanying Jack and Guntar was a half orc paladin named Vola who was interested in joining Amon’s team. Due to the prior melees, the crew needed to take a rest, but only had time to take a short one and used the Stonehill Inn in order to stay out of sight.

It’s was early afternoon in the summer, in Phandalin when the party of 7 left the inn and headed towards the mayor’s home of Tresendar Manor. The plan was to conduct a second raid on the Redbrands and hoped to surprise the occupants by entering the hideout from above through the manor’s interior entrance. Upon finding that this entrance had been barred barred shut, Vola used her orcish strength to brake through with ease. Still injured from the morning’s battle, Kheg lights his lantern and follows the other 6 down the stairs and into the cellar.

Upon running across the Nothic again, the team felt that the creature was set on attacking. Upon Amon’s orders to commence battle, Vola got her first taste of combat by getting bloody, but then healed herself with L.O.H. The Nothic climbed the caven wall to the ceiling and with an arrow, Guntar was the first to draw Nothic blood, but in his hesitation to make a following strike, out of frustration Amon yelled out “Fucking shoot the thing!” Kheg had the same attack in mind that Amon had and run up next to Guntar for a better vantage point, but he failed to strike the target. Jack didn’t fare any better when he threw a javelin, but had much better luck when the Nothic countered. Jack managed to go unharmed when the Nothic used its Rotting Gaze ability. Between an arrow, sword, and Charlatan’s Magic Missile spell, it was Kheg’s arrow that got the Nothic to fall from his ceiling position down into the crevasse below, putting and end to the fight.

At the next door Jack put his ear against it to listen in. Upon not hearing anything Kheg picked the lock and the door was opened only to find 8 Redbrands all armed and bunkered down behind 4 over turned tables. Vola immediately takes an crossbow bolt, with the other 3 crossbows pointed at Kheg as he is the first to enter the room. In a tit-for-tat action by swordsmen at the tables, Kheg got a kill in due to an opportunity attack created by Amon.
In a matter of haste, Charlatan threw Kheg’s lantern at a table in hopes of starting a big fire, but all he manage to do was damage the lantern. Miz’ry struck the face of one combatant with an Eldridge Bolt and caused max damage. Kheg dropped his shortsword and immediately followed Miz’ry up with his own max. damage head shot from a shortbow. With Guntar putting the final blow on a combatant by using his sword, the number of Redbrands still active was now down to 5. It was Charlatan’s fire bolt attack on the 5th Redbrand that made the remaining 4 realize they were no match for Amon’s mercenary’s.

With 4 Redbrands tied up and treated in a manner acceptable to Vola, Kheg had finally reached significant development in his personal quest versus the gang. A Redbrand recognized Kheg thus giving the halfling the opportunity to interrogate someone who might know why Glasstaff ordered his execution. With Kheg believing that his old mate was honest in his answers, the interrogation uncovered nothing leaving Kheg to continue his search for answers.

The party also continued their search with their room to room sweep in hopes of finding Glasstaff. They found what they believe to be Glasstaff’s quarters and alchemy lab. It was here they found treasure, but most valuable was a note written by Glasstaff’s superior. This letter directly links the Redbrands to the case of the kidnapped dwarf named Gundrin and his map.

Upon the capture of 4 Redbrands and the death of 13 others as well as 3 bugbears, the mercenary team felt the raid was successful enough to vacate the hideout and return to the Alderlead Farm despite not having found Glasstaff. It is now believed that Glasstaff was staying in Kragmaw Castle due to the fear of the second hideout raid.

Day 6, late afternoon

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Session 2
Day 5

Day 5; morning
Underneath Tresendar Manor

As Kheg lit a lantern for the team, Aman found that he and the other mercenaries consisting of Dain, Reed and Dak were sharing cavern space with a Nothic. The team tried to converse with the aberation, but it wanted to be of no help in aiding the squad members. It only made it very clear it was hungry. Though it never said what it wanted to eat, a mental image projected into the minds of the squad members told them that halflings could easily be the main dish with the rest of team being potential desert. At this point Aman’s plans suddenly changed from discussion to combat. Dain stayed out of combat on this battle and instead dashed across a small foot bridge for what looked like a passage out of harms way. As each other team member took and attack at the Nothic, they too dashed across the bridge to meet up with Dain. Kheg was the only one to actually strike the creature by using a short bow. Although only hit once, the attacks had an effect on the creature making it want to hide. On the other side the bridge, the team found themselves in short passage than ended abruptly, but Dain found a secret door.

The party entered the door into a supply room. Kheg listened at the door of the next room and due to the noise Dak and Reed were making while rummaging through all of the barrels and crates, Kheg had difficulty on hearing clues as to what might be expected in the adjacent room. This turned out to be very costly. Kheg picked the lock and opened the door revealing 3 Redbrand; combat ensued. 2 Redbrands had swords and the one furthest back was armed with a crossbow. Kheg and Dak wanted to take out the archer first and foremost so they planned to slip by the two swordsmen using their halfling size to their advantage. As they simultaneously rushed passed the swordsmen Kheg became their only target. He got struck by a sword, but manged to make his way with Dak to the archer for close combat. This move surprised the archer due to such sudden advancement and put him on the defensive. Kheg swung a shortsword doing some damage, but not enough to bloody the archer.

Dain became incapacitated; Aman found himself bloody and only a moment later Kheg too became incapacitated after the archer dropped his crossbow and picked up a nearby shortsword. Dak ended the thugs life. Unfortuneately for Dain Ironfist, his life ended too. It took too long for the party of 5 to finish combat against only 3 targets and having Kheg out of commission didn’t help. After the last Redbrand fell, Aman healed Kheg. Aman then ordered a short rest for the team fearing that spending too much time in one spot would be a foolish thing to do.

Mean while unbeknownst to the team the manor above – the home of Harbin Westen) was being looted by two Half-Drow drifters by the names of Charlatan and Miz’ry. These lavendur skinned twins were on the run and were looking to hook up with the Redbrands in hopes of protection. The two warlocks found their way into the cellar of the manor searching for Glasstaff to become two more of his henchmen.

As the mercenary team rested, the drifters happened upon them. The team realized that these two strangers could be useful in their assault on the hideout due to being outnumbered from the start and now down a man due to untimely departing of Dain Ironfist. The team tried to persuade the drifters to join them in their fight against the Redbrands and the promise of an equal share of the 100 gp incentive given to the team by Halia Thornton, was too tempting for the drifters to refuse. Over the dead body of Dain, the deal was made and the team now includes a couple of Warlocks named Charlatan and Miz’ry; an equal split of 3 Warlocks and 3 rogues.

As beloved as Dain was for his wise decisions, his great spirit and deep compassion to heal his fellow soldiers, Dak and Kheg had no qualms with scavaging his corps, with the gold and silver coins being shared among the entire party. Kheg took just about everything he could hold, but due to still not being up to par after his near death experience, the most useful things he took was was Dain’s shield.

After the short rest the crew encountered 3 bugbears brutally tormenting a goblin. A new fight ensured and due to being far from fully healed, Kheg kept his distance and shot arrows with the first one causing severe damage; Aman finished off the same bugbear only a moment later. Miz’ry was successful in using a frost spell, but then became incapacitated. Charlatan hit one with a firebolt, and Reed hit one with an arrow. With as well as the battle seemed to be going dispite Miz’ry’s misery, Kheg started to feel safer and moved in to team up with Dak on one bugbear. Kheg taunted it to draw it’s attention off of Dak, while Dak attacked it with a sword. Kheg is attacked, but dodges and he and Dak counter attack with one of the Halflings striking the the bugbear in the leg and the other drawing blood by plunging a shortsword into the bugbear’s back. This turned out to be Kheg’s last moment of valor in the melee as he joined Miz’ry and Charlatan on the ground as one of the incapacitated. However, Reed was able to stabilize Kheg and Mizry was stabilized as well. In the end 3 bugbears were killed and their slave, a goblin named droop now becomes the captive of Aman and his team.

The goblin was promised food and safety if he leads the team to Kragmaw Castle and hopefully to Gundrin Rockseeker. The goblin, not having any choice other than death as so eliquently implied by Dak agreed to help. When the party and their captive arrived back at the Alderlead Farm, they find that Aunt Qelline had executed the other two goblin captives. Quellin Alderlead hates goblins and had they been put on a 24 hour watch instead of being left behind tied up, she wouldn’t have felt the need to waste them.

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Session 1 -- November 9, 2014
Days 1-5

Day 1 started in the city of Neverwinter as a caravan of 8 beings and two wagons made its way down the main road towards its destination, the town of Phandalin. These 8 were a mercenary squad hired by Gundrin Rockseeker to act as a security escort for supplies and the trip was expected to take about 3 days.

The founder and leader of the team, Amon initially recruited fellow soldiers for his team and on this particular job for Gundrin, each team member was to receive 10 gp for their service.

The first 2 days of travel were uneventful, but on day 3, not long after the caravan turned east onto Triboar Trail, luck ran out. The party was only about 1/2 day away from Phandalin when they found two dead horses in the middle of the trail. It was clear that the horses had been killed in an ambush since they were peppered with arrows with black feathers, but oddly enough the riders were nowhere to be found. Upon investigation, the party realized that the horses belonged to Gundrin and his travel companion. The horses were moved from the trail to allow the wagons to pass and just as the team got settled back into the wagons to restart their trip more black feathers suddenly shot through the air from the tops of the embankments on both sides of the trail. On top of theses embankments were 7 goblins; 3 were armed with swords while the other 4 were armed with bows and 5 or 6 arrows apiece.

With more than one party member hit with an arrow and a clear road ahead, one of the injured, Kheg suggested that the caravan “high tail it” out of harms way due to having everything to lose and nothing to gain, but the team opted to fight it out. Content Not Found: reed, the halfling rogue was the first out of the wagon and up an embankment to take the fight to the attackers that stood atop as a second barrage of arrows took flight and struck targets. Both Kheg and Amon had been struck twice in these first two rounds with Kheg never even making it out of the wagon. With two incapacitated from the start the 8 to 7 advantage became a 6 to 7 disadvantage.

Of all the injured, Amon was in the worst shape. As hope for stability dwindled Dain, the cleric tried to stabilize Amon, but he too became incapacitated. Although Amon had already failed 2 death saves, Content Not Found: tar_ the wizard opted to cast a spell to bring the party’s cleric back to his feet. Content Not Found: tar_ thinking was that Dain could help stabilize the other 3 members from needing to roll death saves. Both Amon and Kheg benefited from Content Not Found: tar thinking as Dain was revived and able to stabilize them both.

By the end of the fight, half of the caravan had become incapacitated, but as disastrous as it started out, the travelers were victorious by killing four goblins and capturing two. As for the seventh goblin it evaded capture and was last seen running north. Content Not Found: reed was the unsung hero this day. His initiative and stealth turned the table and put some of the goblin ambushers on the run.

The two goblin captives were tied up and interrogated as the caravan continued towards its destination. As the caravan made its way down Triboar Trail, encountered trouble with a couple of traps hidden along the way. Content Not Found: jack-winterstorm, who was on point, got swept up in one. The second trap was a tiger pit that fortunately was detected in time.

During the interrogation the mercenaries learned that there is a place called Cragmaw Castle and that this is where Gundrin Rockseeker was taken. They also learned that the ambush was part of a conspiracy to steal a map.

Once in Phandalin, the team looked for their drop off point: Barthen’s Provisions. It was late in the day at this point. As Barthen unloaded the wagons he couldn’t help but notice the mess that the two scared goblin captives laid out on his canvas. Outraged over allowing the dirty goblins to sit on, Amon and Barthen haggled over the cost of damage which was taken out of the teams pay, but it was still enough for each team member to get their promised share pay of 10 gp each.

As Amon and Barthen argued, a crowd started to gather around the carts due to the two goblin captives and this crowd grew as the minutes went by. The area in front of the town hall had become swamped with people in fear over a goblin scare that the mercenaries had created through negligence by keeping their goblin captives in plain sight. The squad sensed that a riot could start at any moment and feared that the goblins they have as captives could become useless if mob mentality took over. With that thought in mind, the goblins were covered up with the “used” canvas that Amon had just purchased from Barthen’s Provisions.

Harbin Westen, the town’s mayor turned the mob gathering into an impromptu town meeting where he spoke to the town folk about the perceived scare. Content Not Found: jack-winterstorm gave insight on the situation to the towns people but that didn’t seem to help ease the tension. It might have gone over better had he not tripped when making his way to the front.

Mob mentality started to die as the meeting continued, and within a short while, both the mayor and the team of mercenaries were able to take much of the fear away. Not seeing a reason for him to continue speaking, Harbin Westen saw a convenient way for him to get away from answering the team’s probing questions. Harbin Westen simply allowed the the town folk to sweep him away as they showed their appreciation for his leadership ability. However, a snide smirk on the mayor face towards the mercenaries said a lot about the mayor.

Qelline Alderleaf, the aunt of the trio of halflings, invited the team to use her farm a safehouse for the night.

On Day 4, as the team was leaving the farm to venture into town and visit with the town clergy, Content Not Found: dak_ had a different plan for himself and his cousins. _Content Not Found: dak asked Amon if they could stay behind in order to visit with family, but instead he planned to secretly visit Halia Thornton who worked at the miners guild.

The cousin’s all have “misunderstanding” with the Redbrands that they wanted to “sort out” and they got a tip that Halia has her own issue with them and could possible be of assistance in helping them take care of business with the The Redbrands. Digging for answers the cousins were never able to get Halia to reveal her issue with The Redbrands, but she was willing to pay the cousins 100 gp if they made the town’s Redbrand occupation cease to exist within the next 48 hours. The cousins weren’t so willing to oblige since Halia wasn’t so open, but before they knew it they were now being pressured to eliminate The Redbrands under a perceived threat. At least Halia kept the 100 gp offer on the table and gave the trio a couple of clues to help them get started. “”/wikis/sleeping-giant" class=“wiki-page-link”>Sleeping Giant" and “Under ”/wikis/Tresander%20Manor/new" class=“create-wiki-page-link”>Tresander Manor" were provided in writing.

While the rogues felt like they were being bamboozleed by Halia Thornton, the rest of the crew were making plans on how to deal with not only The Redbrands, but the goblins, and now some orcs too.

On the morning of Day 5 the mercenaries were led by the rogues 4th cousin, 10 year old Carp to the entrance of The Redbrands hideout underneath the Tresendar Manor. As the team positioned themselves for the assault, Amon ordered the rouges forward to scout out the entrance. Upon giving the signal that is was clear, the rest of the team forward at Amon command. When they all reached the narrow entrance, Amon appointed Dain to lead the team down the narrow and dark passage, because with a dwarf leading the way, they were able to use the cover of dark to their advantage. On each man’s left shoulder was the left hand of the man behind him. The train of beings slowly moved forward up the rough, dark and foul smelling corridor. As the passage opened up into a room, the team found themselves in a situation were the word “strange” would be a massive understatement. Just as the team started to realize that the strong, strange smell in the air was rotting corpses, the team found themselves involved in combat.

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