The Lost Mine of Phandelver

Memoirs of Krystiana - (Eleasis 19, 1489 DR)
There was something in the air that night...
Memoirs of Krystiana continued - (Eleasis 15, 1489 DR)
The Redbrand Hideout (1st dungeon crawl!)

Hearing these voices in my head is absolutely killing me.  It's a painful high pitch ringing in my ear only slightly interrupted my a voice taunting me…telling me thing's it couldn't possibly know!!  Is it controlling my own mind?  Is it warping my brain into madness?  Is it trying to communicate?  I don't know.  But I can't take it.  Neither can Barc by the looks of it.  He just collapsed to the floor holding his ears.  I tried to run to him, but after a few steps I also succumbed to the pain and passed out.

Recollection as told by Varrus and Midgert
This vile creature is toying with the minds of all of us, individually.  It seems to be playing with us, reading our minds and taunting us with our own personal secrets.  Varrus caught a quick glimpse of the creature running in the shadows.  His familiarity of monstrosities and the like allowed him to identify what it was.  A Nothic!  A reptilian creature with a spiked back, large claws, and a huge single eye upon it's forehead.  Varrus confirmed this creature's ability to read minds and communicate telepathically.  Varrus and Midgert tried to lure it out of hiding in order to slay the beast.  They even resorting to bringing in the dead Redbrands from the other room and place them in the middle of the floor for it to feast upon.  It did not want to battle us though.  It wanted something else.  It was hungry and wanted to be released!  It told us it was tired of being stuck here eating whatever scraps the Redbrands threw into it's lair.  Varrus and Midgert explored the rest of the room, looking for other ways out.  The voice in their heads persisted, telling them they would not be permitted leave the lair unless they helped. 
Crossing the small wooden bridge on the northern end of the room, Varrus got an unexpected surprise.  The wood gave way under his weight and the bridge collapsed!  20 feet downward, Varrus lands upon garbage and rubble scattered all across the bottom of the crevasse.  Getting to his feet brings yet another surprise.  Heaped among garbage and broken bone fragments is the half-eaten body of Thel Dendrar, the woodcarver of Phandalin who was recently murdered by the Redbrands.  Those outlaws must have left his corpse here for the beast to feed on.
Then something else caught his attention.  A small wooden box, heavily reinforced with metal bands.  But currently there's no time to investigate as Midgert is still up there alone.
Varrus climbed up the crevasse side to the chamber floor.  Where's Midgert? 
The nothic initiates communication with Midgert, whose mouth and eyes are covered by the huge claw of the foul creature.  "Open the south door for me and let me be free" fills the head of Midgert.  "Only then will you be able to continue into the building and maybe find your blue friend".  Midgert agrees.  True to his "word", the nothic releases Midgert.  In turn, Midgert and Varrus manage to open the southern door in the chamber.  The duo move away from the door and to the other side of this dark, shadow-filled room.  The nothic scurried to the southern doorway.  A quick glimpse back with it's giant monocle, and it was gone. 

Barc and Krystiana are still feeling the effects of the Nothic's mental intrusion.  The northern section of this large room provides a good place for a quick rest.  But Barc has not recovered at all and Krystiana is alert, but is in no shape to continue into the hideout.  She insists that Varrus and Midgert continue on.  She will care for Barc until they return.  The lure of that wooden chest under the now collapsed bridge is too tempting for Varrus and Midgert to pass up.  Examining and opening it, they find some coin, a few gems, 2 potions, and a scroll of some sort.  But also, there within lies a long sword of exquisite quality inscribed with the name "Talon".

Heading further into the lair, Midgert and Varrus decide to head out the western door.
Down a flight of old dusty stairs, the duo arrive at a door on the left and about 10 feet away a door to the right.  Listening at the left door, they hear the sounds of some creatures yelling in a non-understood language.  They head into the room hoping to surprise the occupants.  Theses barracks contain 4 roughly built wooden bunks with heaped up blankets and dirty dished scattered about.  A strong smell of unwashed bodies and rotten meat fills the air.  3 tall, furry humanoids are lounging among the mess, barking orders at a sad little goblin that seems to be demeaning itself for their amusement.  The sudden appearance of Varrus and Midgert causes the goblin to faint.  A battle ensues with the bugbear beasts, but they are no match for the heroes.  After defeating the foul creatures, the goblin wakes.  Extremely scared, the little one begs for his life.  He thanks the guys and says he can help.  He goes on to explain that was captured by the bugbears.  The goblin introduces himself as "Droop".  Droop tells the party that there's some soldiers behind the far door and a red robed wizard has a room further within the compound.  Again the goblin grovels begging that he be allowed to go home back to his family.  Surprisingly, the guys let the goblin go on his way.

Examining the far door, it is discovered to be unlocked and not trapped.  There's talking, shouting (common tongue), and various groans going on behind the door.  Midgert cracks the door to see inside.  Inside Midgert sees worn tables and chairs scattered around a large room.  Wooden benches are drawn up against walls decorated with draperies of brown and red, and several ale kegs are propped up and tapped.  4 tough looking human warriors wearing scarlet cloaks are gathered around one of the tables heavily distracted and involved in a game of sorts.  A stack of coins and trinkets are heaped upon the tabletop between them.  There is another door on the far north side of the room.  Midgert closes the door as quietly as possible believing the no one inside has noticed the door open.  A quick plan is formulated to rush the room and slay the redbrands before they know what hits them.  But the surpriser become the surprised as they open the door to discover that the 4 redbrands inside are poised and ready to fight!  The fight starts off promisingly enough as 2 redbrands are dispatched of quickly.  then 1 of them pulls out a smoke bomb of sorts.  Filling the room with smoke, the redbrands slip out of the room.  Varrus and Midgert follow in pursuit.  the battle rages on in the crevasse room.  A long and arduous battle takes place with neither getting an advantage.  Finally, 1 redbrand takes out another smoke bomb and uses it to obscure their movement and both escape out of the room and aren't found again.

After a short rest, the duo proceeds through the unexplored north door.  This room appears to be a wizard's workshop.  A rat scurries across the floor and takes refuge under a large worktable set up with alembics, retorts, distillation coils, and other alchemical devices, all of which are stewing and bubbling away.  Bookshelves are crowded with sheaves of parchment and strange looking tomes.  Looking around, the a book and other papers scattered across the table, but unreadable (language barrier).  While searching the room, Varrus hears what he believes is movement of some sort in the next room to the east.

Immediately our heroes check the door for any traps.  Not seeing any, they head through that door.  Inside, the walls of this bedchamber are covered with drapes of scarlet cloth.  The furnishings include a small writing desk with matching chair, a comfortable looking bed, and a wooden chest at the foot of the bed.  Searching the room, nothing of interest is found with the exception of a small opened chest at the foot of the bed and a letter on the desk. 

The chest contains some coin and a few gems.
The note on the desk reads:

"Lord Albrek, My spies in Neverwinter tell me that strangers are due to arrive in Phandalin.  They could be working for the dwarves.  Capture then if you can, kill them if you must, but don't allow them to upset our plans.  See that any dwarven maps in their possession are delivered to me with haste.  I'm counting on you, Iarno.  Don't disappoint me."

The only thing resembling a signature at the bottom of the page is a small illustration of a black spider. 

There are no obvious doors out of this room aside from the one used to enter.  But after searching more closely, there is a slightly open secret passage in the NE corner of the room.  Varrus and Midgert immediately go.  Back of a flight of stairs and through yet another secret door brings them to the storeroom where Krystiana and Barc were left to rest.  but they are no longer here.  Instead a note is found from Krystiana indicating they returned to the Inn as Barc was writhing in pain and she didn't know what else to do.

Exploring further, the guys stumble upon a small crypt containing 3 large stone sarcophagi.  While trying to quietly walk through the room to another door on the east wall, one of the sarcophagi starts to slide open.  Climbing out of it is a fierce skeleton warrior.  Then from the other 2 come another and another undead warriors.  The duo were able to defeat the creatures, but were heavily wounded in the effort.

In the last room of the compound, a slave pen is discovered.  Locked inside are 2 human women and 1 human boy all dressed in gray tunics and have iron collars fitted around their necks.  The prisoners turn out to be Mirna Dendrar and her 2 teenage children, Nars and Nilsa.  Mirna tells the group that a few days ago, the Redbrands murdered her husband, Thel, for defying them.  Later that night, the gang returned and abducted the family from their home in Phandalin.  The Dendrars are grateful to Varrus and Midgert for rescuing them, but they can't provide much information about the Redbrand hideout.  All they know is that the boss is a wizard (though they haven't met him and don't know his name), and that he has "tall, furry monsters with big ears" working for him.

Although Mirna has nothing to offer as a reward, she tells the characters that she might know where a valuable heirloom is hidden.  When she was a young girl, she and her family fled from the town of Thundertree after undead overran the place.  Her family had an herb and alchemy shop, inside which a case containing an emerald necklace of great value was hidden beneath a section of storage shelves.  She never dared to return and retrieve it.  The shop was in the southeast section of Thundertree.  Mirna then bids fair well and many thanks as she departs with her 2 children.

Exploring the remainder of the hideout produces no further clues as to the whereabouts of whomever was in the quarters where the letter to Iarno Albrek was found.
Varrus and Midgert decide to leave the hideout and head back to Phandalin.  On their way out, they chose to leave via the southern passage where both the Nothic and Droop the goblin left through.  Though sadly, Droop never made it back to his family as his partially eaten body was found at the end of the southern passage just before the exit.

Arriving back at the Stonehill Inn, the party is reunited as Barc and Krystiana are there still recovering from the Nothic attack.  After a good night's rest, Midgert and Varrus decide they wish to return to the Redbrand hideout to finish clearing out the lair.  Krystiana and Barc are still in no condition to go.  So the 2 head off to finish the job.

On their way, Varrus and Midgert encounter a group of hobgoblins that they battle and defeat.
One of them was carrying a crudely drawn sketch of some humanoid creature with a large sword.  Written beneath the sketch is "25 gold pieces for this one" and a symbol of a spider.

Arriving back at the Redbrand hideout, further exploration reveals nothing to have changed.  The dead bodies of the defeated foes still lie when they dropped.  No new Redbrands are found.  But upon entering the quarters where that revealing note was found, the party discovers something startling.  Standing in the room, searching through papers on the desk, is Rekt.  Immediately upon seeing the group, Rekt takes off, with amazing speed, through the east door and slams it behind.  Fumbling for a brief moment to reopen the "secret" door, Midgert and Varrus give chase.  Sprinting room to room, Rekt always seems to be just a room ahead of the party.  They arrive at the original entry into the hideout, the cellar.  No sign of where Rekt could have gone from here, except the slightest movement of water from within the Cistern.  Examining it and even going so far as to jump into the reservoir revealed no sign of Rekt.

Feeling distraught with the disturbing encounter with Rekt, the two decide to head back to the Stonehill Inn to discuss the news with the rest of the party and come up with their next plan of action.

Memoirs of Krystiana - (Eleasis 15, 1489 DR)
- And then there were 3...

It's so very hot.  My skin feels like it's burning!!  Where am I?  Who's that?  A man whispers, "It's Sildar Hallwinter".  He explains to me that I'm in a room he secured at the inn.  "What inn?" I scream out.  "The Stonehill Inn" he calmly states.  Sildar goes on to explain that I was found just outside of town unconscious and barely alive.  That was a week ago.  My clothes, my hair, my face!! - all are covered in burns. 

Now that I'm awake, a cleric comes in and lays his hands upon me and begins to pray.  Within seconds, I can feel the healing powers take over and most of my damaged skin begins to heal.  My clothing and my hair, he can do nothing to fix.  Sildar pays the man and he leaves wishing us both well.  After having a meal and some much needed water, I find a scissor and some powder and begin fixing myself up.  I wonder where everyone else is?  Oh lord, I hope they are ok…

Feeling an explosion behind him is the last memory Varrus has while traveling through the portal back to Phandalin of Toril.  Then a burning.  A very intense burning!  What feels like seconds later, he is flung out of the portal into some woods.  Unfortunate for Varrus, he strikes a tree without any way to brace for the impact.  After collecting his thoughts and bandaging himself up a bit, he realizes he is a few thousand feet outside the town on Phandalin.  Deciding the best course of action would be to search for the others, he heads off towards town.

Seeing some sort of battle ensue from the portal origin, Barc turns to head back and try to assist ShadowWeaver (who is trying to maintain the portal) and Narak.  But it's too late.  Seeing an apparent sneak attack on ShadowWeaver is followed by an intense explosion.  Then all went black…for a few seconds.  Next thing he knows Barc feels like he is on fire from the inside.  Then a bright light nearly blinds him.  A second later, Barc finds himself being hurled from the portal into the center of an inn.  Smashing through a table and into the side of the main bar like a mage's fireball.

Being helped to his feet by the inn proprietor, Toblen Stonehill, Barc feels like he has been burned to a crisp!  Toblen offers food, drink, and any other assistance he can.  After Barc regains his senses, he makes his way to a sink to try and clean up a bit.  On way back to the bar, a gnome approaches Barc asking if he can be of assistance.  Talking a bit, both men head over to the bar and have a drink complements of Barc's new friend Midgert.

Moments into this discussion, both notice a warrior enter the inn.  Barc recognizes the warrior as Varrus.  He appears to have gone through a similar experience as Varrus has burns over his face and arms and a large welt on the side of his face.  After a quick happy reunion talk and a gnome introduction, the group begins talking with the inn owner.  They discover that nobody from the group has been seen in Phandalin for over 2 months!  It's only been a couple of days as far as the group knows.  What's going on? 

After about 10 minutes or so, a commotion is heard just outside the inn, interrupting their conversation.  People are gathering around something and screaming for help.  Quickly Varrus, Barc, and Midgert rush outside to see what is going on.  Pushing through the masses, they find a heap of what appears to be an extremely badly burned humanoid smoldering on the ground.  Barc bending down to try to lend assistance, he sees the figure lift it's head trying to crawl.  It's Bareic!!  Reaching out, Barc sees the skin just melting off Bareic's arm and hand.  After sharing a look of recognition, Bareic starts spitting up boiling hot blood from his mouth, collapses, and passes.  There's nothing anyone could have done.  He was too far gone.

After giving Bareic a proper burial just outside Phandalin, The group, along with their new friend Midgert, decide to search town for the 2 other missing party members Krystiana and Rekt.  Midgert tells Varrus and Barc that he knows the layout of the town and offers to guide them in hopes of finding the missing party members.

Wandering about town finds the group no additional information other than reinforcing their familiarity with the town layout.  The group does stop to replenish their rations and other supplies that were destroyed during their return.  Heading back into the inn, Toblen (the innkeeper) tells them that Sildar Hallwinter was inquiring to the group's whereabouts.  He directs the party to Sildar's room.  Knocking upon the door, Varrus is informed by Sildar that he has found one of their party members.  He warns that she is extremely upset, injured, and in rough mental condition.  Varrus insists upon seeing her immediately.  Sildar tells Varrus that she may not be ready to see anyone and will try to check with her.  Varrus insists again to see her immediately.  Things get a little tense.  But eventually Varrus enters the room and sees Krystiana.  She is wounded, her hair and face are burned.  Krystiana cries when she sees Varrus.  She asks about the rest of the group.  After finding out that Bareic didn't survive the travel and Rekt as well as the boy Alexander are still missing, Krystiana wails out in tears.  She says she can't do this any longer.  She's not an adventurer.  She cannot handle this.  It's not the life for her.  She tells the group that she will be staying behind at the inn.

Accepting that Krystiana is in no condition to leave, the party heads back downstairs.  Overhearing talks of a blue man being beaten down by a Redbrand party, the heroes decide to head out east in the direction of the Redbrand hangout, the Sleeping Giant Inn.

The party heads down the eastern road.  On the outskirts of town lies The Sleeping Giant Inn.  A loud and rowdy place, the group immediately sees a few of the Redbrand Ruffians hanging outside the building on the porch.  New member Midgert attempts to talk to them and try to get some information.  They retort with a series of insults and threats.  Not wanting to start too much trouble, Midgert backs down and walks away. 

Continuing east not more than a thousand feet, more Redbrands approach.  They are obviously looking to start trouble, demanding the party drop their belongings and be on their way.  A fight begins.  The new trio fights well together but are having troubles handling these foes.  Things are looking bad when suddenly out of nowhere a few arrows come flying through the air, sinking deeply into the chest of one of the Redbrands, and dropping him instantly.  Looking up, it's Krystiana!  "I can't let you guys get yourselves killed" she says.  With the morale boost of the group's "heart" returning and the skilled fighting of the new guy, our heroes take down all but one of the ruffians.  This last once looks to strike a deal, offering information in return for sparing his life.  The group tentatively agrees.  They learn that there is a hideout of Redbrands inside the Tresendar Manor located on the very eastern edge of town.  After receiving this information, Varrus immediately attempts to kill the cowardly Redbrand by shooting him with his crossbow.  But he escapes via magical means of a sort. (A LITTLE HELP PLEASE?)

Armed with the knowledge of the hideout location, the party proceeds with the intent of stopping this group once and for all.  Scouting the area from all around, the group eventually decides to enter through a window in the side of the manor.  Inside, there is a thick layer of undisturbed dust on a mostly deserted floor.  Some junk and a random chair or two are all there is to see here.  Or is there something else?  Midgert finds a secret door leading down.

Climbing down the barely usable ladder, the group find themselves in the cellar of the manor.  There are kegs and barrels lining the walls.  On the west wall is a cistern – a rectangular reservoir of flowing cold water.  A door is seen to the right of the cistern.

Entering the door as quietly as their skill allows for, inside the group finds 3 Redbrands.  Luckily for them, the ruffians are sleeping.  After killing 1 in his sleep and holding another quiet, a small misstep triggers some unfortunate noise.  Enough to wake the last Redbrand.  After a struggle, he reaches for a small panel on the wall and presses.  An alarm?  A door lock?  We don't know for sure.  Whatever it was it didn't make any noise.  Moments later, the Redbrands are defeated and killed.  Barrels and crates are littered throughout the room.

Just as the party are leaving this room, they hear a loud creaking sound coming from somewhere within the building.  Leaving the room, we decide to investigate another small tunnel we discovered in the east wall.  Following for about 20 minutes this led to a metal grate just beneath the ground.  A secret entrance / exit I guess.  Returning to the cistern, our highly skilled new friend Midgert discovered a sliding panel in the wall.  A secret door!!  This is a tricky place for sure.

Entering this newly discovered area, a cold breeze fills this large natural cavern, carrying with it the faint scent of decaying flesh.  A crevasse divides the cavern and is flanked by two rough stone columns that support the twenty-foot-high ceiling. Two arched wooden bridges span
the chasm.  Entering slowly, I could swear I saw something moving up ahead in the dim torchlight.  There it is again!  A voice is filling my head…it's taunting me.  How did it know that??  Does it know me?  It can't possibly know that!!! 

Memoirs of Krystiana - (Kythorn ??, 1489 DR)
- A hero from the past guides us home.

So we (mostly) all awaken from our slumber in the Priest's Bane Inn.  According to Varrus, we have been sleeping for a few days.  Having taken the healing salves so graciously crafted by Durgold Lightbringer and larno Albrek, I feel like I have the worst hangover ever.  But at least I can stand and walk…I think.

Oh my!!!  There's undead all around me!!  Where are my weapons?  Where are my companions?  Did they already run away and leave me here?  Have they been killed?  Wait, are these my companions.  They appear like undead creatures.  So do I for that matter.  But I understand what they are saying to me.  What was happened now?

Scared and not knowing what curse has befallen us, we gather our senses and try to figure out what to do.  During this discussion, someone decided to open the room door and peer out into the hallway.  As luck may have it, there was somebody out there.  But unfortunately this fellow yelled out down the stairs for his pals to get up here.  Then before I knew it, this warrior was kicking down the door to the room and attacking us.  I think he believes we are creatures terrorizing the inn.  After attempting to talk to this man, it seems he cannot understand any of us.  He beckons for help once again and brandishes a weapon.  He looks like a grizzled veteran adventurer.  Are we going to have to fight him?  We did.  Killed him actually.  Now we are killing what appears to be fellow adventurers?  Is isn't exactly what I envisioned when I chose this profession…  Then more came and more died.  One escaped only because he ran away in fear!  Lucky man.

Seeing our front door was utterly destroyed, we had to get out of here.  There was no hiding up here any longer.  We gathered up our belongings, disguised ourselves with robes and towels to hide our appearance, and made our way down the stairs towards the exit outside.  Rekt and Bareic don't seem to be recovering so well as they had to be nearly carried out of the room.  We passed by a small group on the stairs but oddly enough they didn't really look twice at us.

We made our way out of the inn.  Looking around, this definitely looks like Phandalin.  But everything seems darker, worn, and dilapidated.  The fixtures and building materials are different too!  Harsh stained concrete where wood once stood.  The people all seem more grim and downtrodden.  Is this our Phandalin?

Our plan was to sneak down the back streets to the Lionshield Coster.  There we can hopefully get some assistance, or at least a safe place to hide.  On our "stealthy" excursion to the supply shop, we realized that somewhere back 50 feet or so Bareic's towel must have fallen off as his monstrous face was clearly exposed.  People noticed.  I noticed now on the main road, the man who escaped our first encounter at the inn was now leading a group of people all seemingly eager to put us down.  And they have spotted us!!

With the mob fast approaching, we conclude that we need to get out of town (literally).
Approaching the outskirts of town, we can see that it gets extremely dark.  Unnaturally dark.  And foggy.  Very foggy.  And it's not the trees that are making it dark.  We enter nonetheless.  Looking back, I can see that the town is surrounded in a pale globe of light.  What is this place?  This clearly isn't the Phandalin I went to sleep in.  Luckily the mob is not following us out of town into the dark woods.

Not knowing where to go, we venture further into the woods looking for a defensible place to set up camp and figure out our next move.  It's very dark, but not pitch black.  I can see ok, but I bet Varrus and Bareic probably can't see much of anything.  While walking through the ever thickening forest, Barc suddenly lifts his head into the light breeze and says he hears something.  It's some sort of commotion a bit further into the woods.  It's best we figure out what it could be before it comes and surprises us later.  Before long, we find a small figure with a few very dark, shadowy creatures flying all around it.  It's a small human boy with a makeshift staff fighting off these creatures.  He can't be more than maybe 14, but he's amazingly skilled.

Barc and Varrus quickly race forward to "rescue" the boy.  They battle the shadow creatures surrounding him.  A couple of them split off to attack us.  After a few scary moments, we are able to defeat these creatures. 

Speaking to this boy, he tells us his name is Alexander.  He further goes on to explain that this is, but isn't, his home.  It's Phandalin, but it's a different Phandalin.  It's the same experience we are having.  He goes on to say the dead giveaway was the inn.  He's lived in Phandalin all his life and that inn has NEVER been called the Priest's Bane Inn.  It's the Stonehill Inn.  Always has been.  He goes on to tell us about an altercation between his father and a red robed wizard.  This wizard cast a spell of sorts during this incident.  The next thing Alexander remembers was waking up here.  After questioning where he has been staying and how he's surviving out in the woods, he reluctantly says we can come with him to his shelter.  But 1st, he must ask permission to make sure it's ok.  Ask permission?  Ask who?

We walk a bit through the woods when he asks us to stay here for a few moments.  Then he quickly scampers off further into the woods.  Returning shortly, he says it's ok.  He leads us ever further into the woods and approaches a rocky hill.  Mountain side more like!  I really hope he doesn't expect us to climb that!  Alexander asks us to all join hands.  He then grabs Barc's hand and leads us directly through the rocky hillside.  Huh?

Inside is a dark chamber filled with hundreds of tiny dim red lights, casting some very creepy shadows all about.  At the end of this chamber sits a lone figure.  An older human fellow of maybe his early 50's.  He is dressed in gray robes and has graying hair, mustache, and beard.  After being asked multiple times by Varrus what his name is, he reveals his name to be ShadowWeaver.  Barc seems to recognize this name.  I'm not much of a history buff, but I've heard it before too.  Maybe it's a common name from the east lands or something.

Speaking with this ShadowWeaver (no last name?  Weird…), it turns out he's a famous adventurer from the times before the Spellplague.  But that was well over 100 years ago.  This human couldn't possibly have lived that long ago.  He goes on to explain that he was drawn into this alternate world known as Abeir and that he is trapped here just the same as we are.  He further gives us a little history lesson that serves to explain what has happened between the time he and his adventuring group, "The Seven", apparently saved Faerun and now.

He describes an event called the "Spellplague" that caused the catastrophic events that Faerun has just recently started to emerge from.  The Spellplague was the result of Mystra's (The Mother of all Magic) assassination by 2 other Gods.  After Mystra was killed, the Weave (the universal structure of arcane forces) was destroyed.  The magic separating the twin Planets of Toril and Abeir was gone.  Wizards and sorcerers no longer had the ability to harness magic from the Weave.  Priests no longer had their prayers answered by their Gods of worship.  This had cataclysmic effects across both planets as they began to merge.  Pieces of Toril started to appear in Abeir and vise versa.  Neither could survive this and both planets would soon be destroyed.

The misery of this time concluded with "the 2nd Sundering".  After this Sundering, all the wars that started in its wake came to an end.  The world began to once again look very much alike to how it was during the 1300s and most of the consequences that the Spellplague had wrought upon Toril were nowhere to be seen.  Mystra and other deities previously presumed dead or missing managed to return to life (or to re-emerge) during the Second Sundering, quickly winning back old faithful followers and amassing new ones.  Prayers to the gods began to be answered once again.  What brought this sundering upon us he did not mention.

ShadowWeaver tells us he believes we were intentionally sent here but did not know by whom.  He recognized our life essences, or lack thereof.  As it turns out, if we don't return home soon we likely will never be able to.  Our undead condition will become permanent.  There is an unbalance in the twin worlds.  One cannot pass from the prime material plane (of which Toril resides) into the negative material plane of Abeir and vise versa without someone else taking their place.  Then as if he forgot or something, he offers us a small vial and begins to waive his hand about.  "Drink!  Drink up!  This will cure what ails you".  Within seconds, the undead skin of our bodies begins to fill with life.  He cured us!  He then goes on to give us the good news that he can send us home.  But only 5 of us, as the balance between the two worlds needs to be maintained.  Including Alexander, there are 6 of us.  And further, we must find our doppelgangers that were brought from Abeir to Toril.   Returning them to Abeir is paramount to maintaining the delicate balance between the twin worlds.  ShadowWeaver goes on to say that he must stay behind to keep the portal open for us to pass through.  He states that it's very important that the boy, Alexander gets back as well. 

Deeply troubled as to how to do this, a sacrifice is offered by the most unlikely of sources…  Our nameless rogue.  Explaining that he has never had a place in the world of Toril, he has a strange feeling of comfort here on Abeir.  He can stay behind and attempt to help make this a better place.  And maybe help find a way to get ShadowWeaver home someday too.   He then thanked us for allowing him to partake in this adventure with us.  He also revealed, finally, that is name is…  Narak.  Barc then chimes in asking if there's anything we can do to help get ShadowWeaver and (and Narak?) back to Toril.  "Possibly…  There is one that could maybe help.  An old friend, Elminster.  Yes, the sage of Shadowdale owes me a favor", replied ShadowWeaver.  Elminster, SERIOUSLY???  Even I know that name.  He's the most famous wizard of all time.  Virtually a mythical figure.  He hasn't been seen in many years.  I can't even imagine how we can ever find this man, or if he's even still alive for that matter.

The illusionist then gave us a little going away present…  a small amulet.  "This will help guide you to your other selves".  With that and a fairly quick farewell to Narak, ShadowWeaver begins chanting and within moments a magical passageway opens up in the cavern wall.  "Go.  Go quickly.  I can't hold this long."  With that we say farewell and enter.  One by one we go.  I enter last, looking back feeling guilty for having to leave behind the one we just started to get to know.
And as I looked back, I see a tumultuous situation unfolding behind us.  Narak and ShadowWeaver are being attacked!!  Then I see an explosion.  Then nothing…

Memoirs of Varrus - (Kythorn 10, 1489 DR)
- I don't feel so good...

DM Note:  Get comfortable…

"Guys, I heard a noise.  Over there.  It's that damned bugbear, Klarg.  He's moving and not dead!"

Klarg is lying there in a pool of his own blood begging for us to spare his life.

He weakly stands up, but can only manage to lean against one of the stolen crates in the back of the room.  "I can help you, yes.  I can bring you the prisoner man.  I will give him to you and then you can leave.  Oh, and I can help you more.  I can tell you where you can find the ugly little dwa….ugh…"

I guess Varrus became impatient with the bugbear's attempts to bribe us, as the warrior hacked into Klarg with his great sword right across his neck.  As the bugbear was falling, I noticed something in it's left hand.  A green bottle falling from his grasp crashing onto the floor.  I tried to catch it, but it happened all too quickly.  In a flash, a green mist engulfed the room.  I couldn't see a thing.  All I could do is cough.  And cough.  And cough.  I have to try and get out of this room.  Where is everyone else?  Oh my.  I'm fading…

- – - – - – - – - – - – - – - – - – - – - – - – - – - – - – - – - – - – - – - – - – - – - -

Oh that stench!!  Thankfully my Inquisition training prepared me for this.  I (Varrus) can't see anyone.  I need to get out of here.  I climbed out the small passage back to the room where we encountered the wolves.  The mist doesn't seem to be coming into here.  Maybe I should go and help…  Nah, they will all make it out I'm sure.  See there's Krystiana now crawling through the rubble.  Hmm…  She's stopped moving…  Let me drag her in here to safety.  I don't see the others.  I'll just prop her up against the wall here and she'll be just fine.  Now to find another way to that room.

Heading north into the passage, it's getting really dark.  So I light a torch and venture forward.  Up ahead I see an overpass.  There are 2 levels to this place?  I think I'll just take the passage I saw going west.  Ah nice!  There are stepping stones made just to cross the water to that passage.  Heading across, I clumsily slipped on the last rock and fell into the water.  Aghh!  I hit my face on the wall and it freaking hurt!

Just as I was recovering from my little mishap, I hear a strange scream from the northern passage.  I don't know what that could have been.  More goblins maybe?  Then a few seconds after, the loud sound of rushing water!  I lost my torch in the fall so I really couldn't see.  I just know I need to climb.  I think that western passage should be right around here.  Just managing to avoid a rush of water coming down the main passage, I climbed up into the passage.  Drying off, I attempt to light another torch.  My stuff is soaked!  It took a few tries, but I finally got one lit.

The western passage led to a dimly lit room with a small pit of fire towards the back.  There are 2 goblins in there.  As luck had it, they didn't know I was there yet.  I battled the 2 goblins, then a 3rd one appeared on a ledge in the back of this cavern.  Proceeding further into the cavern, I now see a human prisoner.  Time to be a hero!  Battling and defeating the 3 vermin, I manage to save the prisoner I later learn to be Sildar Hallwinter.  Isn't this that fellow who was traveling with the missing dwarf, Gundren Rockseeker?  They must have been ambushed down the Triboar Trail where we found the cart remains.

Sildar is badly beaten.  But luckily his gear is here and he has some sort of drink that made his wounds heal.  Huh.  Convenient.  Sildar wants me to help him get back to Phandalin.  But I insist I will help only after I find the rest of my group.

After exploring this wretched hideout and dispatching of another couple of goblins, we finally find the room adjacent to the other side of the room where the poison mist was dropped (Brain bender there).  Thankfully my friends are all there.  They managed to crawl out to safety.  But man, they look awful.  They are barely conscious, extremely disoriented, and they just don't stop vomiting.  And they aren't getting any better.   

Sildar and I help the group out of the cavern, and start heading down the trail towards Phandalin.  About an hour after getting to the main road, a merchant cart stops and offers assistance getting back to town.  We gladly accept.

On the ride to Phandalin, Sildar informs me of the following bits of information:
- The three Rockseeker brothers (Gundren, Tharden, and Nundro) recently located an entrance to the long-lost Wave Echo Cave, the site of the mines of the Phandelver's Pact.
- Klarg, the bugbear who leads this goblin band, had orders to waylay Gundren.  Sildar heard from the goblins that the "Black Spider" sent word that the dwarf was to be brought to him. Sildar doesn't know who or what the Black Spider is.
- Gundren had a map showing the secret location of Wave Echo Cave, but the goblins took it when they captured him.  Sildar believes that Klarg sent the map and the dwarf to the chief of the Cragmaws at a place called Cragmaw Castle.  Sildar doesn't know where that might be, but he suggests someone in Phandalin might know.
- Sildar's contact in Phandalin is a human wizard named Iarno Albrek.  The wizard traveled to the town two months ago to establish order there.  After the Lords' Alliance received no word from Iarno, Sildar decided to investigate.

Once arriving in Phandalin, Sildar insists we head to the Lionshield Coster.  I wait outside trying to care for my friends the best that I can.  Inside, I can see Sildar talking to some woman.  Then someone else enters the room.  Sildar receives some coin from one of them.  Finally after what seems an eternity, Sildar comes back with a wizardly looking fellow wearing red robes.  He is introduced to me as Iarno Albrek.  He says he can help.  After examining the ill party, he offers to go get a cleric to assist. 

Sildar knowing the town fairly well, escorts us all to an inn.  I notice the name, "Stonehill Inn".    Hmmm…   We get the largest room available.  Then about an hour later, the wizard returns with a cleric named Durgold Lightbringer.  After careful examination, (which includes skin, blood, sweat, and saliva samples), he claims that he and Iarno need to carefully test the samples to try to figure out any possible remedy.

So we wait.  The group is looking worse and worse.  I'm starting to wonder if they are going to survive this?  Finally the cleric and wizard return.  Durgold informs us that he believes he can create a cure, but is missing 1 crucial ingredient.  He describes it as "Troll birth fluids".  My lord, I think I'm going to hurl just imagining that.  "Without this, no cure can be made".  Then Iarno offers me a large jug.  He claims it's unbreakable and can withstand the elements it needs to contain.

But where the hell do I find a troll?  A PREGNANT troll?
Some crazy wizard spell later, I have directions to the Yartar Bridge, a little over a days travel east of here.  Fascinating…

Renting a few travel horses, we ride at a feverous pace.  Sildar and I are likely getting very close, but we are also losing light.  And I am so very tired.  So we agree to setup camp and continue at 1st light.

But the evening would not pass without incident.  I apparently dozed off during my watch, as I awoke to the realization that something was going on!  Sildar was being dragged into the forest by 2 cloaked figures.  I began to chase them down when an arrow whizzes by my head from behind!  Battling these bandits proves to be extremely challenging.  Every time I think I'm about to deliver a death blow, they manage to dodge my blow ever so slightly to lessen impact of the strike.  It's uncanny!  We manage to kill 1 of the attackers, but the other 2 manage to escape into the forest.  Returning to our camp, we notice that they must have gone through our bags!!  Missing are some coins and, more importantly, the unbreakable jug!

There was no tracking these rogues down, so we rested the remainder of the night until sunrise.  Traveling little more than 2 hours, we see what looks to be a huge bridge about 500 feet ahead.  Scouting it out, 2 trolls have made a makeshift home beneath the bridge.  Curious as for what to expect, I sent my horse running forward towards the bridge.  Closing in about 50 feet from the bridge, a large rock comes flying towards the my horse.  Unable to avoid the deadly accurate aim, the horse is struck and killed instantly.  What am I going to tell the stablemate?

I go to get a closer look to the west side of the bridge, while Sildar enters the woods out of sight to the east.  Seeing no other options, I start firing my crossbow at the male troll who appears to be guarding the female.  In return, the troll starts lobbing nearby boulders at me.  Getting nowhere, I begin to close in on the bridge.  Just as the troll looks like he is going to engage me, I see an arrow come flying and sink deep into it's back.  On the other side of the bridge, I see Sildar shoot his bow and then start running into the woods.  The male troll begins to give chase east after his ranged attacker. 

Sildar glances at me directing me to the bridge.  But instead, I give chase to the troll who, in turn, is chasing Sildar.  After a few missed crossbow shots and about 100 foot of chase, I feel a strange sensation in my head.  I "hear" the voice of Sildar in my head, clear as if he were mere inches from my ear.  "You moron!  Get to the female troll.  We can't possibly defeat them both in combat!"  I'll lose the male in the forest.

Getting the hint, I make my way into the underbelly of the bridge.  Inside I see the female troll.  She is extremely pregnant and her breathing is greatly labored.  In my typical style, I take my great sword in hand and begin attacking her.  Battling her, I see she is lashing out at me frantically but obviously suffering with being in labor.  The female troll is cradling her stomach with every attempted defense.  Seeing this opening, I slice open her stomach with my blade.  Oh what a mess!  Blood, mucus-like fluid, and what looks like a dead embryo now lie in a thick puddle on the ground.  The strike heavily staggered the female and she let out an awful scream falling to the ground.  Taking my opportunity, I emptied my water skin and refilled it with some of the awful afterbirth that poured out of the creature's belly.

— Krystiana:  Ok, the horse sacrifice was bad enough.  But it's a good thing I wasn't conscious, as I couldn't protest more as to how this situation with the female troll was handled!!!

Having filled my water skin with this disgusting missing ingredient, I begin running up the path back in the direction we originally traveled.  Seconds later, I see Sildar approaching me on horseback from behind.  In one short swift move, he reached down and pulls me aboard the horse.  Looking back over my shoulder, I can see the female troll crawling towards what was once her ready to be born infant and the male rushing to her side.  Both letting out heart wrenching screams of anguish looking down at the remains.

— Krystiana:  <crying>

Arriving back at the inn, I deliver the last needed ingredient.  Administering the doses, both Iarno Albrek and Durgold Lightbringer assure me that after a good night's rest the group will awake to feel like new men (and a woman).  So the wizard, cleric, and Sildar leave us to recover.  Quickly I fade off into a deep sleep.

I wake to a calming light breeze coming in through the open window, the sounds of townspeople going about their business, and the peaceful chirping of birds playing in the trees.  I head out early to gather some fresh food.  The mainroom sign reads "Priest's Bane Inn – Best food in town".  Priest's Bane Inn?  I could have sworn was called the Stonehill Inn.  Hmmm…  I gather the best of the food available and return to the room.  I look around the room.  I first see Bareic lying face down on the makeshift bedding.  The skin on his neck and arms, once a yellowish purple, now appearing pale but without foul tint.  They must be getting better!

Feeling a sense of relief I head over to the sink.  Running water over my hands and face, I reach for the towel.  I clear out the crust from my eyes.  Looking up into the mirror, I… "OH MY GOD!!!"

Memoirs of Krystiana Darona - (Kythorn 8, 1489 DR)
- So what's with all these wolves?

So after battling the goblin ambush, the guys looted the goblin bodies.
Eww…  I can't stand the thought of even touching these things, never mind after they are all cut up into bloody pulps.

We spotted a path headed to the North West.  I assumed this was how these goblins just appeared out of nowhere.  Despite curiosity, we proceeded to Phandalin to complete our task at hand.

Arriving in Phandalin, we met with Elmer Barthen – the owner of Barthen's Provisions.  He is a lean and balding human male shopkeeper of 50ish years with a kindly manner.  He employs a couple of young clerks (Ander and Thistle) who help empty the supply cart.

He paid each of us the remaining 15 GP.

In conversation with Mr. Barthen we learned of trouble in the town being caused by a brigand group known as the Redbrands.  Why do I get the feeling we are going to have future problems with this group?

Once business was completed with the shop owner, we left immediately to return to the site of the goblin ambush.  They wanted to investigate that trail we found.  So we traveled immediately, right though the night.  Upon reaching the crossroad, we decided to set up camp.  During the watch, we started hearing noises.  Like something, or multiple somethings, were walking around the nearby woods.  Then the growling…  We were being surrounded by wolves!!  Having no other choice, we fought and killed these wolves.  I didn't feel really good about it, but what other choice did we have?

So once we had enough morning light, we proceeded west to the site of original horse attack where the path awaited us.  We followed the path to a cave, maybe a mile or 2 off the main road.

Rekt proceeded forward to take a closer look at the cave entrance and was ambushed by 2 goblins who were apparently guarding the entrance.

Yet another battle ensued.  Before I knew it, someone in our group cast some sort of magical spell causing the grass, trees, and vines to come alive and grab hold of our attackers. I had no idea they could do this.  I can't do anything that cool!  Maybe I underestimated this group I find myself traveling with.  After dispatching of the goblins, Varrus and Barc entered cave and discovered pathway to the right side.  Inside were 2 wolves chained to the ground.  They started making a lot of noise with their loud barking.  Then 1 more entered the room.  This wolf was even larger, and more importantly, not chained.  We had to dispatch of them quickly before whatever lives in here was alerted to our presence.

Trying to understand where this other wolf came from, one of my eagle eyed companions discovered a hidden opening in the back of the room.  It was obscured from site with rubble and filthy hanging cloth.  I would have never seen that.  I don't know.  Maybe I'm not cut out to be an adventurer after all…

Barc decided to crawl into the opening.  Soon after we hear what sounds like commotion from within the room.  Then the sounds of Barc fighting.  We tried,to get in there quickly, but the opening was small and it was difficult getting through.

But once I did get in, I saw 2 more of these goblin creatures, a bugbear named Klarg (who seemed obsessed with telling us how puny we were), yet another wolf, and a room full of supply crates.  What's with all these wolves anyway?  I feel terrible killing puppies.

So now we find ourselves in yet another battle.  It was surreal.  It was like I was on autopilot (what's autopilot anyway?).  Fighting these deadly foes became almost instinct.  My only real memory of the fight was watching the wolf take Barc's staff from him then somehow attack him with it.  I didn't know an animal could do that.  Wow!  Luckily Barc was able to find another weapon amongst the crates in the room as his became broken in the melee.  

In watching this, I unknowingly must have let down my guard.  I saw my life quickly flash before me as the blade of this nasty bugbear came within inches of piercing my chest.  But just as the blade was upon me, Bareic blocked the blow and struck the foe with a hard hit attack.  He really fought like a master.  I really feel outclassed.

Oh no, that bugbear is now trying to flee!!  But as he attempted to make his escape, that unsociable rogue who travels with us suddenly was there to deal the final blow to him.  I didn't even know he was still with us.  Such a creepy individual he is.  I don't even think we know his name!  

Thank heavens that this is over with.  We rest for a few minutes to collect our thoughts.  We look around the room to see if there's anything useful in here.  


Uh guys, what was that?


Memoirs of Krystiana Darona - (Kythorn 5, 1489 DR)
- It all starts here

It's 1489 DR and the small downside to this renewed peace throughout Faerûn is how work has now become so tough to find. With seemingly 20+ adventurers fighting for each available job, it's a wonder I even eat (though maybe my waistline gives thanks!). But today I came across a work opportunity that I couldn't possibly pass up.

A dwarf named Gundren Rockseeker arrived in Neverwinter with what seems to be a "too good to be true" work opportunity.  He's interviewing candidates for a seemingly simple job – escort his cart full of provisions and supply goods from Neverwinter to the trade post in Phandalin.  It's only a couple days travel southeast.  Gundren was clearly excited but more than a little secretive about his reasons for the trip, saying only that he and his brothers have found "something big."  And he's offering 20GP each for escorting his supplies safely to Barthen's Provisions, a trading post in Phandalin.  Wow!  I could do a lot with 20GP.  A fancy new lute maybe?  I'm excited!

The interview process was a little intimidating.  There must have been almost 30 adventurers of various races, colors, and professions all vying for the opportunity to make some relatively fast gold.  But I got in there early and didn't allow him to say no. Dwarves can never refuse a big smile and a few fingers running through their beard.  I was in!  

Many others were not so lucky.  From what I saw, only 8 were selected.  Among these 8 were two warrior brothers named Denjen and Parsak.  They are extremely full of themselves and too authoritative for my liking.  Hopefully they prove to be the mighty warriors they claim to be. Then there was this really creepy hooded fellow who really didn't talk much.  He makes me nervous. I think I'll keep my distance for now.

On a more positive note, there were these 4 other gentleman. They seem to be a group who have worked together before. Barcallias, an apparent druid, Varrus Valerion, a soldier of some sort, Rekt, a strange form of blue humanoid that I've never seen before, and Bareic, a holy warrior.  Funny story, I actually met Bareic the night before.  I thought he was kind of dashing, for lack of another word.  I gave him a little bump to try and get his attention.  Unfortunately after a quick introduction, things went nowhere and we parted ways.  I must have been having a bad hair day or something.

After Mr. Rockseeker selected his escorts, he set out ahead on horse, along with a warrior escort named Sildar Hallwinter, claiming he needed to arrive early to "take care of business".
So the following morning I arrived at the stables a bit early to see if I could lend a hand to get this venture started early and smoothly.  But upon my arrival, there was already someone there. Varrus, part of the foursome I met the night before, was there.  I'm not sure what he was doing.  He just seemed to be secretly lurking in the shadows, unsuccessfully mind you, scoping the place out.

Eventually the other 6 arrived and we departed on our quest.  We proceeded south down the High Road for many miles.  Of course, the 2 warrior buffoons, Denjen and Parsak insisted on driving the cart.  Whatever…  I didn't have any desire to drive it anyway.  The view was nice traveling down the coast.  After a day and a half, we veered east from the High Road onto the Triboar Trail.  We are making great time!  This gold is going to be even easier work than expected.

Having been on the Triboar Trail now for maybe half the day, Barc has signaled for the cart to be stopped.  He was scouting ahead looking for trouble and he apparently has found it.  Ahead blocking the trail were 2 dead horses.  Closer inspection shows they have been shot with black feathered arrows.  The saddlebags have also been looted.  I have a bad feeling about this… Before I knew it, there were more arrows whizzing through the air towards us!  Then it was full on with us battling a bunch of goblins.  When all was said and done, we were victorious.  But we paid a price…  Parsak and Denjen, the two boastful warriors and drivers, lay dead from the goblin archers attack.  Maybe if my arrows had shot true, these deaths could have been avoided.  I feel terrible…

Renewed light across Faerûn
- A New Hope

The date is 1489 DR (Dale Reconning).

It is a time of rebirth and restored optimism throughout the lands of Toril.  Many dark years across the land, where most had given up hope for tranquility, have finally started to give way to light with the unexplained conclusion of the War with the Orcs.  The years of darkened skies have been restored with sunshine.  Vegetation and crops now grow where none had for years.  Prayers that had been left unanswered by the Gods are now being heard once again.

Sages and scholars far and wide have been conflicted as to the cause of this sundering and even more-so as to it's cure. There's even one very old, but highly respected, wizard who has been so bold as to claim that this is the result of war amongst the mighty Gods themselves.  

Here our tale begins.  Four adventurers meet up in Neverwinter - a city that is part of a much larger collective area commonly known as "The Sword Coast".


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