4 Flamerule, Year of the Warrior Princess (1489 DR)
Town of Phandalin, Sword Coast
“We can take the three extra cloaks here and assume the role of Redbrands,” Osric suggested. He placed the cloak around him and secured it with the copper skull clasp the Redbrands wore.
Randal watched the bard, grabbed a cloak and wore it. “I was thinking the same thing.”
“Now gentlemen,” Osric began. “Part of the art of subterfuge is speaking in such a way as to lend credibility to one’s disguise.”
“What are you suggesting?” Xander asked. He too wore a Redbrand’s crimson cloak.
“Simply that you allow me to speak for us,” Osric said. “I—well, let us just say that I have skills in convincing people.”
“The way you convinced Elsa last night?” Xander asked.
Osric gave the fighter-sailor a sly smile. “Believe me, it didn’t take much convincing.” He said. “She needed her curiosity about half-elves satiated.”
“What, that the elven half of you was from the waist down?” Ghesh chimed in.
Sildar came back into the room. He wore a similar cloak, although his was completely drenched having had to get his and one other from the ones they tossed into the cistern an hour previous. “Wish you thought of this before we threw them in,” Sildar said. He grabbed the ends of his cloak and squeezed a bucketful of water out.
Ghesh and Randal opted not to wear a Redbrand’s cloak.
They decided to play the role of prisoners instead.
When all were ready, they stepped out of the room and saw three Redbrands in the cellar.
“Halt!” one of the Redbrands commanded as soon as he saw Osric open the door. Like most of them, he was a human male in his late twenties or early thirties. He stood looking over the cistern. It looked like he had just finished examining the bodies in the cistern. “What happened here?”
The group walked out of the room.
“These two attacked them,” Osric said nodding towards the cistern. “We’re transporting these two prisoner to see Glasstaff.”
The Redbrand looked at both Ghesh and Randal. He then drew his shortsword.
“Do you always transport prisoners with weapons on their persons?” the Redbrand questioned. He turned to the other two. “They’re impostors!”
The adventurers were able to easily defeat the Redbrands. One tried to escape by running outside. But he was killed before he could warn any other Redbrands who may be wandering about in Phandalin.
Back inside, the group entered the door under the stairs leading outside.
Thick dust covered the flagstones of a somber hallway. The walls were decorated with faux columns every ten feet, and a set of double doors at the far end of the hall were sheathed in copper plate, now green with age.
A relief carving of a mournful angel graced the doors.
Xander and Osric led the way, the two walked alongside one another in the ten-foot wide hallway.
However, after several steps, Xander fell through the floor to land some twenty feet below! Fortunately, he wasn’t hurt too badly and climbed up to reach the other side.
The others carefully took several steps back, ran, then jumped to clear the ten-foot wide pit to land on the other side. They then walked up to the door.
Close examination revealed that the doors had not been opened in quite a long time. Dust and cobwebs covered it in places.
They carefully opened the doors, their torchlight spilling into a large mausoleum.
Three large stone sarcophagi stood within the dusty crypt. Propped up against each one was a human skeleton clad in bits of old rusty mail. Each wielded a shortsword.
False columns along the walls were covered to resemble oak trees.
Two wooden doors, not showing as much dust and cobwebs as should be expected, led out of the mausoleum to the north and east.
When the party entered, the skeletons moved to approach them, their swords at the ready.
Randal threw off his red cloak ready to battle the undead.
At the sight of the paladin throwing off his cloak, all three skeletons advanced to fight him while ignoring the others who still wore their red cloaks.
Quickly realizing this, Randal donned his red cloak once again.
The skeletons stopped their attacks and moved back to stand by each sarcophagus.
The party carefully made their way through the mausoleum and opened the door leading east. It was clear that the door had been opened many times in the past due to the lack of dust and cobwebs.
They opened the door.
Inside was a room partitioned into three areas, with iron bars walling off the north and south. . Filthy straw lined the cells’ floors, the hinged doors being secured by chains and padlocks. The room clearly served as the Redbrands’ slave pens.
A pair of disheveled human women were held in the cell to the south, while a human boy was being kept alone in the northern cell.
Everyone of the prisoners had iron collars fitted around their necks.
A heap of discarded clothing—all belonging to the current and perhaps past prisoners—were piled carelessly against the wall opposite the entrance into the slave pens.
A dimly lit lantern hanging on the wall above the pile of clothing afforded the only illumination.
Two Redbrands in scarlet cloak were surprised to see the group enter the slave pens.
The adventurers quickly killed one. The second one surrendered.
They questioned the Redbrand, whose name was Yarris. They also questioned the woman and the other two.
The woman said she was Mirna Dendrar. The others were her two teenage children, thirteen-year-old Nars and eighteen-year-old Nilsa. Mirna said the Redbrands had murdered her husband, Thel, a few days ago for defying them.
After murdering Thel, the Redbrands returned and abducted her and her children from Phandalin. She overheard the Redbrands’ plans to sell the family into slavery.
The group remembered hearing about Thel, the murdered woodcarver, from the townfolks in the Stonehill Inn.
Mirna begged the party to free her family. In return, she offered the party a reward. She told them about the location of a hidden valuable family heirloom: an emerald necklace. She said her family had an herb and alchemy shop in Thundertree when she was a young girl.
Her family fled Thundertree when a horde of undead overran the place.
She told about the location of the hidden necklace and the where the shop was located in the ruined town.
The group thanked her for her offer but insisted that they remain in the cells until the adventurers can clear the hideout of Redbrands.
The adventurers then threatened to kill Yarris if he didn’t cooperate and tell them everything he knew about the hideout and the Redbrand leader, Glasstaff.
He said he was willing to help them if they would spare his life. He added that he really wanted to be a shepherd anyway and give up the life of a bandit.
After promising to return for Mirna and her family later, the adventurers had Yarris lead them further into the hideout, going past the hideout’s armory and through a secret door which led to the storage room north of the crevasse where they first entered.
The captured Redbrand said that only Glasstaff and Mosk, the leader of the bugbears in the hideout had keys to the armory.
When asked about the bugbears, Yarris said they were sent by someone or something called the Black Spider to help keep the Redbrands and the citizens of Phandalin in line.
Yarris took the group to Glasstaff’s workshop.
A single rat scurried across the floor when the adventurers entered the wizard’s workshop. Another door, which Yarris said led to Glasstaff’s quarters, led out of the room.
Alembics, retorts, distillation coils, and other alchemical devices, all of it stewing and bubbling away took up space on shelves and tabletops. Bookshelves were crowded with sheaves of parchment and strange-looking tomes.
They even found some rare reagents like mercury, dragon bile, and powdered nightshade.
The rat, skitted across room, and wasn’t seemingly afraid of the adventurers. It even rubbed against their boots on occasion.
Osric said that by the looks of the tomes, parchments, and alchemical devices, it seemed that Glasstaff was trying to brew potions of invisiblity.
They carefully made their way to the door and opened it.
Glasstaff’s bedchamber was covered with drapes of scarlet cloth. The furnishings included a small writing desk with matching chair, a comfortable-looking bed, and a wooden chest at the foot of the bed.
The room was not occupied. However, the group quickly noticed a slightly ajar secret door against the opposite wall.
Everyone quickly moved to the secret door, opened it, and followed a secret staircase leading up to another secret door.
The way led into the storage room north of the crevasse.
They were shocked to realize that they had rested in a room with two secret doors leading into it!
They was no sign of Glasstaff, who the group deduced may have fled the hideout.
Yarris then led the party to the common room where other Redbrands were known to gather.
Everyone still wore their cloaks so tried to pass themselves off as fellow Redbrands when they entered the room.
Inside were four Redbrands sitting around a table. A stack of coins and trinkets were heaped upon the table. By the looks of it, the four men were gambling.
The four looked at the party when they entered.
They immediately recognized the party as the ones who came upon them along the Triboar Trail!
The Redbrands abandoned their gambling, stood up, and immediately attacked the party.
“Ye’ll be someone’s slave soon ’nuff,” the Redbrand said through a mouth full of missing teeth. He shoved Xander into the cell, then locked the iron barred door.
The Redbrand then left the slave pens.
Inside the cell lay the others, all badly wounded from the battle against the four Redbrands they encountered in the common room.
The party managed to kill three of them, but Yarris decided to turn on his captors. He picked up a shortsword dropped by a fallen Redbrand and joined in the fight against the adventurers.
Only Xander managed to avoid being killed or mortally wounded in the bloody encounter.
He surrendered, while the Redbrands called upon two bugbears led a third beast of a bugbear who wore a jeweled eyepatch.
Mosk, the bugbear leader, had the others stabilize the dying adventurers and then had them brought to the slave pens for Glasstaff to deal with at a later time.
Osric, however, did not survive his wounds. He died. His body was thrown into the crevasse, but not before being stripped of all his valuables.
The others too were stripped of their equipment. Even their shirts and pants were taken off of them before they were tossed into their cell.
Xander, the only one conscious amongst his fellow adventurers, sat on the cold flagstone floor of his cell. Nars looked at him and began to quietly cry.
He looked to Mirna and her family. Their look of despair at the sight of their only hope of freedom now occupying the slave pens with them was obvious.
“What’s going to become of us now?” Mirna said through tear-filled eyes. She moved closer to embrace her daughter.
Xander sat back and gazed at his fellow adventurers who lay motionless but alive on the stone floor nearby.
What will become of them all, the sailor from Neverwinter wondered.
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