4 Flamerule, Year of the Warrior Princess (1489 DR)
Town of Phandalin, Sword Coast
Osric, being able to see better in the dark than the others, led the way as the adventurers quietly walked through the rough-hewned secret passage which led under the old manor from the woods near the Alderleaf Farm.
Moments before, everyone dropped by to pay their respects to Qelline Alderleaf, Carp’s mother.
Qelline was a gentle, yet wise halfling woman of forty-five who seemed to know everything that went on in town.
She even offered the group the use of her barn as a place for them to stay for free if they were willing to sleep on dry hay and offer a hand or two around the farm.
They accepted, much to Carp’s excitement. It seemed Carp looked up to the adventurers and had dreams of becoming an adventurer someday—despite his mother’s insistence that he take over the farm when he was old enough.
Carp said he wanted to become a well-known rogue; famous like his hero, Regis, a member of the famous adventuring company known as the Companions of the Hall. He had read about Regis and his adventures in one of the few chapbooks his mother had acquired from a traveling merchant from Waterdeep.
Carp even showed off his skills at unlocking padlocks, something he had been practicing since Elmar Barthen gave the insistent halfling boy a set of old padlocks and some tools used to pick locks.
Qelline, although not entirely supportive of Carp’s unusual hobby, found his skills useful whenever she occasionally locked herself out of the house.
The group offered to let Carp lead them to the passageway’s entrance. But they made him promise not to follow them in.
Before leaving, Sildar gave Carp a small pouch of gold coins and some gems. He told Carp to give the pouch to his mother. If the group did not return to the farm after a day, he was to insist that his mother take him far away from Phandalin. Hopefully to a place safe where the Redbrands could not harm them.
Osric quietly made his way back to the group waiting for him.
Xander held a torch which the others could see their way by.
The half-elf bard reported spotting a medium-sized creature lurking in the shadows of a large natural cavern where the passageway ended.
Even strange was the fact that somehow the creature was aware of the bard’s presence, and had telepathically spoken to him.
When asked what the creature had said, Osric reported that the creature was hungry and that it wanted fresh meat.
Since they were lacking any source of fresh meat—and since no one was willing to volunteer to be fed to an unknown creature—everyone agreed that they would have to simply charge into the cavern and attack whatever the creature was.
The group readied themselves and moved in to confront the creature.
They entered a large cavern. The faint scent of decaying flesh filled the cavern. A crevasse divided the cavern which was flanked by two rough stone columns that supported the twenty-foot-high ceiling. Two arched wooden bridge without rails spanned the chasm on the north and south end.
To the north was an area finished with stone block walls and a flagstone floor.
Several barrels were stored against the walls, along with a number of crates, straw for packing, hammers, pry bars, and boxes of nails.
Several passages opened up off of the larger cavern.
Ghesh led the charge and stepped on to the closest bridge.
On the other side of the chasm appeared a strange creature resembling a lanky, hunched, olive-green humanoid with a single, enormous, red, central eye. Its long arms were tipped with claws which dragged along the ground as it moved in an awkward hop.
But as soon as Ghesh stepped on to the bridge it collapsed!
The dragonborn fell twenty feet to the bottom of the crevasse. He landed hard on his side, knocking the wind out of him.
While the others fought off the one-eyed ‘creature’—for no one knew what the thing was—Ghesh tried to climb out of the crevasse.
The dragonborn fighter noticed that the bottom of the crevasse felt unnaturally cold. Heaps of broken and well-gnawed bones littered the ground. He also came upon a half-eaten body of a male human dressed in commoner’s clothes.
At one end of the crevasse, Ghesh also spotted a battered wooden chest.
Despite his curiosity, Ghesh decided to join the others rather than inspect the chest.
When the one-eyed humanoid was slain. The party regrouped.
Most everyone had sustained some sort of injury while fighting the thing. At one point, the creature stared at one of them with its red eye. The creature’s gaze caused the skin to rot and decay painfully.
When the creature lay dead at their feet, they all agreed that whatever it was, it was by far the toughest creature they had faced yet.
Tire, everyone decided to the storage room at the north end of the cavern. Before moving there however, they all helped to retrieve the chest from the bottom of the crevasse.
While they rested and healed, they inspected the chest.
It contained nearly two hundred silver coins and over a hundred gold coins. It also contained five malachite gems and two potions clearly marked as potions of healing. A scroll, which Randal and Osric read, turned out to be a scroll of augury.
But the most amazing treasure in the chest was a beautifully crafted longsword in a silver-chased scabbard. The blade shone brightly when unsheathed. On its blade was inscribed the name, “Talon”, while its hilt was worked in the shape of a bird of prey with outspread wings.
Some it the party recognized the blade as having once belonged to a great knight named Sir Aldith Tresendar, known as the Black Hawk.
They recalled that Sir Aldith was the last living Tresendar to live in the manor in Phandalin. As the lore went, he died fighting off the orcs that attacked through the hidden caverns below his manor.
No one ever knew whatever became of Sir Aldith Tresendar and his famous blade, Talon. That is until now.
About an hour later, the group left the storeroom and made their way down the southern passage away from the cavern.
The narrow hallway they were following ended in a blank wall. Careful inspection revealed a secret door which led into another room.
Beyond lay a large cellar.
Stone steps ascended up to short flights to a narrow landing fifteen feet above the cellar floor. A wooden door was visible on the landing.
Another door stood beneath the stairs to the north.
A large stone cistern occupied the western part of the room, whose walls were lined with kegs and barrels.
A third door stood on the northern side of the cistern.
Xander, ever the lover of spirited drinks, examined one of the kegs. “Good stout ale,” he said as he took a taste then resealed the keg.
The group decided to open the door on the other side of the cistern first before examining the other doors.
As soon as they opened the door, four Redbrands came charging out of the room beyond!
The fight against the Redbrands didn’t last long.
The party were able to defeat the thugs with little or no injuries to themselves.
After, they disposed of the bodies by throwing them into the cistern. They then inspected the room where the Redbrands came out of.
The room appeared to be a storeroom pressed into service as a living quarters. Two double bunks stood against the wall near the door, while barrels and crates filled the southern half of the chamber.
They decided it was another good place to catch their breath before going further into the Redbrands’ hideout.
Heroes and NPCs