Helen finds herself alone in Phandalin, the rest of the party nowhere to be found. As she walks down Phandalin’s main street, four men approach her, led by someone wearing an ermine mantle and carrying an ornate, intricately shaped glass staff.
The man carrying the glass staff speaks. “Good day to you! I’m afraid I have some unpleasant business to discuss with you. Earlier today, I had some unexpected…ah…guests…in my mansion.” He goes on to explain—in veiled and overly diplomatic terms—how Helen’s compatriots met their demise in the caverns under Tresendar Manor.
Sildar Hallwinter interrupts him partway into the conversation. “Iarno? Is that you?” Iarno does not seem happy to see Sildar here, alive.
Sildar continues. “So you’re the leader of the Redbrands, Glasstaff.” When Iarno tries to argue that the Redbrands are the protectors of Phandalin, here to help its people, Sildar interrupts: “You’re here to terrorize the people of Phandalin, not protect them.”
A crowd has started to form around them, interested in the confrontation but unwilling—or afraid—to interfere. From the rear of the crowd, an unnamed elven monk begins to approach them. Iarno warns him—and the rest of the crowd—not to try anything “rash.”
Sildar appears dumbfounded by Iarno’s association with the Redbrands. “You betrayed the Lords’ Alliance to become a crime lord?”
“Crime lord? Now, now, Townmaster Hardin is quite happy to have us here; aren’t you, Hardin?” he says to the Townmaster, who is in the crowd nearby.
“Of…of course! Absolutely! No question!” Hardin says, nervously but emphatically.
“Now, my reputation here in Phandalin requires that I not leave this…invasion…of my manor unrewarded. Men,” Iarno gestures to his Redbrand escort, “finish off these…pests.” The Redbrands unsheath their swords and approach Helen and Sildar.
Tides turn against Iarno when others in the crowd join Helen and Sildar to fight him and the Redbrands, but not quickly enough; Helen is slain, though the Redbrands are vanquished and Iarno captured. A note that Iarno held indicates a connection with some entity known as the Black Spider.
Bejamite returns from hunting to find Helen dead.
The newly formed party rests for the night at the Stone Hill Inn, where the innkeeper thanks them for standing up to the Redbrands.
The following morning, the party reconvenes and heads to Tresendar Manor to see if any more Redbrands remain to threaten the village. They find their way into the manor basement, which now lies empty, but for the bodies of a number of recently deceased Redbrands, and the adventurers that Bejamite had come to Phandalin with. Nothing of value remains, though Shara salvages some arrows.
They carry the bodies of the other adventurers outside to be buried. Bejamite hopes that Helen can still be restored to life, and is told to see Sister Garaele at the Shrine of Luck. Sister Garaele agrees to take care of Helen’s body for a time, if Bejamite will do something for her: ask a banshee named Agatha where Bowgentle’s spell book is. She gives Bejamite a jeweled silver comb to exchange with Agatha for the information. The travellers head up the Triboar trail away from Phandalin.
Three days later, they reach the town of Conyberry, an abandoned town that was sacked by barbarians years ago and now lies in ruins. An old trail leads northwest, into Neverwinter Wood; the party heads there.
The air grows colder as evening falls. Around a bend in the trail, the adventurers find Agatha’s home—of sorts—woven from the branches of trees. Sister Garaele told Bejamite that the banshee is extremely vain, so he gives the comb to Bastral to request the information that Sister Garaele wanted.
They hit it off well. Agatha tells Bastral that she traded Bowgentle’s spell book to a necromancer named Seminoth, from Areobor, a century ago. She does not know what became of the book afterwards. With that, Agatha and the comb fade from sight.
Daran Edermath had told the adventurers that someone was digging around the ruins of the Old Owl Well, and that prospectors have been chased away by undead. The well is near Conyberry, so the party heads there to investigate.
Not far down the path, they notice some very large orcs attempting to hide behind some very small bushes, with limited success. The orcs are quickly dispatched.
The adventurers crest a low ridge and spy the crumbling ruins of an old watchtower amid the hills. Ruined walls surround a courtyard of sorts; a small tent has been set up nearby. No one is in sight, though a deathly odor wafts from the tower’s direction.
The nameless monk and Theren creep towards the tower to see what is inside and discover zombies. They return to the rest of the group to warn them. Shara sets an arrow alight and launches it into the ruined tower; 12 zombies begin to shamble out of the tower towards them, one with a flaming arrow still stuck to it. The party prepares for battle.
To Be Continued