28th of Flamerule 1482 DR
My Dearest EB,
We resumed our travels after gathering the goods of the Merchant House LionShield, quite a large amount of food stocks, armor and sundry goods, and proceeded on our way to Phandalin. Arriving at Phandalin we returned the goods belonging to the LionShield Castors, receiving 50 gold Lions for our troubles, then proceeded to deliver the goods and cart we were hired to deliver. Gundren’s people paid us our 10 Lions each and we proceeded to the Stone Hill Inn to meet Sildar. While certainly no Inn of the Eastern Delights, it had a quaint human charm and the food was the best the town had to offer. We hired several rooms for our party while Eldon disposed of the frog figurine and gold teeth.
We heard several tales of a local gang of bully boys, the Red Brands, attempting to extort the local merchants, first from the factor at the LionShield Castors, then from the innkeeper. The factor at Gundren’s supply house, Darren, informed us of the proper name for the mine our employer was attempting to find, the Lost Mine of Phandevers Pact. I do recall some fragments of tales concerning the ore, and how it was easily enchanted. I must remember to write Wicus Sunstryke and ask him if he has any further knowledge of the place within the tomes of his library.
After splitting the proceeds from our journey, Aisha and Lord Bernard informed us that they would each be going off ways separate from our own. Over dinner we met Xenya and Gregori, two fellow adventurers after Hazradad struck up a conversation with them. While I can understand Hazradad speaking to Xenya, she does show the best of her parentage, Gregori is the by-blow of an orc! Xenya seems to be an up and coming minstrel, while the radäg is as barbaric a fighter as I expected based on his looks. I must say however, Gregori does possess a highly developed sense of honor, quite unusual for one of his kind. Over the course of our meal and the drinks afterwards (the dwarves can certainly drink), we heard several tales, of the nefarious Red Brands, and reports of orc raiders out towards the eastern end of the Tribor Trail. The lad who worked in the kitchen mentioned that a playmate of his was run off by bandits near Trussendor Manor. We surmised that it might be some of the Red Brands (oh how right we were to be) and decided to speak to his playmate, Carp, the next day. One oldster mentioned that undead had run someone off a digging by the Old Watch Tower. Sildar mentioned that the leader of the Red Brands was one Glastaff and he had a hidey-hole under Trussendor Manor. We resolved to speak to several witnesses for the tales we had heard, as well as speak to the Town Master, Arbin Wester.
The next day we scattered soon after breakfast, some to investigate, others to sit back and guard the hearth, so to speak. We all gathers shortly after noon and over lunch shared the knowledge we had gleaned. Our company had learned that Arbin, didn’t think the orcs east or Tribor’s trail, were much of a threat, but offered 100 s Lions to eliminate the Wyvern Tor war band. He grudgingly agreed to pay 120 Lions if there were more than 5 orcs. When pressed about the Red Brands, he downplayed it with such nonchalance that Eldon’s ears peaked up, we believe he might be on the take from the Red Brands. Darren asked for assistance in finding and getting back into working order the Lost Mine of Echo Cave. There is also apparently a 500 Lion reward for driving off the Chieftain and his mob from Cragmaw Castle. The Priestess at Tymora’s shrine requested our aid in finding and asking a question of a local Ban-Sidhe named Agatha. The Priestess wishes knowledge of a spellbook, Bogentle’s Spellbook. I’ve heard that name before, but for the life of me, I cannot recall where I heard it. If you have knowledge of this caster my friend, I pray that you enlighten me as to his (or her) character. Agatha apparently likes fine goods, especially jeweled combs to straighten her tangled locks. We were promised 3 potions of healing as payment for returning with knowledge as to the whereabouts of the book. Agatha makes her lair somewhere to the north of Tribor Trail, back in the woods. Apparently this Ban-Sidhe has been a local fixture for quite some time. Some of us made a trip to one of the outlying farms where we met Guillen Alderleaf and her son Carp. Carp related how he saw some of the Red Brands hiding in a thicket, where there was a tunnel. Carp let us know that this wasn’t far from Trussendor Manor. After lunch, we decided to go and check out the main hangout of the Red brands in town, the Sleeping Giant Inn. This was a decrepit place and there were four of the scallywags lounging on the front porch. Xenya attempted to talk her way past them, but they were spoiling for a fight. I will never understand the human predilection towards banditry and how they will prey upon their own kind. Eldon showed them the sharp ends of his blades and quickly put down the leader, permanently. For a Halfling, he does scare me, almost as much as the Severed Kin. We soon knocked the fight out of the rest, along with most of their lives. One we were able to capture and he spilled his guts, letting us know that the remainder of his gang was in Trussendor Manor. We were also able to find out that Arbin had been intimidated by the Red Brands, which explains his willingness to ‘look the other way’. The bandit let us know that there were nine more of the Red Brands located in Trussendor Manor and that Yarno, the human wizard, had disappeared near there. He also claimed that the Red Brands had killed Threlldrendar. We determined that come the morning we would travel to Trussendor Manor and find and eliminate the nefarious Red Brands.
We left in high spirits, and traveled a short distance outside the town proper (well what’s left of it), and quickly found the thicket that Carp had told us of. Entering the thicket we found the secret passage and followed it down. After a short distance the passageway opened into a cavern with several natural buttresses and a deep chasm in the middle that was spanned by two wooden bridges. There is some aberration that haunts the cavern as it began to speak to us in a simple, animalistic voice. After a brief conversation where it expressed an interest in something to eat, Hazradad offered it some of his rations in exchange for information. We learned that the Red Brands regularly passed through its cavern, tossing it captives or slaves who had died. The radäg agreed to let us pass if we left it the corpses of those we might kill. There were several passageways leading out of the cavern, all of them showing at least some or in some cases, extensive working to shore them up and improve them. Picking one at random, we followed it a short way when it suddenly descended a flight of stairs with a door at the bottom to the left and a passageway leading to the right, also ending in a door. Hazradad and Eldon snuck ahead and listened at the doors, hearing snoring at one and boisterous conversation at the other. Picking the far doorway with the conversation going on, we prepped in the hallway and then burst in the door, catching four of the Red Brands by surprise. Eldon dashed in and eviscerated one, while Gregori ran forward and swung mightily and missed. Xenya skipped in and stabbed her rapier into one, I followed her and channeled lightning into his brain, killing him. Eldon rolled under the table and gut and heart thrust the third. Gregori after a few missed swings finally caught the last one, beheading him on the table. It was then that we began heading a commotion from the door we had bypassed. Eldon had thoughtfully spiked the door closed, and whatever it was began to batter at it in a vain attempt to open it. We quickly ran over to contain them just as the door began to give way. Gregori blocked the door with three Bugbears attempting to make their way out. Between Gregori’s axe and Eldon’s knives, the first beast went down. The other two went down after a hard fight in which Gregori took some serious cuts which Hazradad healed. We discovered a goblin, the Bugbear’s manservant; the foul little thing had passed out upon seeing Gregori. Interrogating it afterwards revealed that Mosk was the (now dead) leader of the Bugbears and they had come at the behest of the Black Spider to assist and whip the Red Brands into shape. Additionally we learned that Yarno, whom we thought to be a friend of Gundren, turned out to be in league with the Red Brands. Hazradad dragged some of the dead Red Brands out for the aberration to munch upon. We plundered the dead and came up with an iron key, a gold earring with a ruby, and eye patch set with some semi precious stones, 15 lions, 22 blue eyes, 88 falcons and 75 thumbs.