Conway looks Hablen and says “Why certainly.. everyone knows how he best place to get information is at a pub. It’s all about who you speak with though. Let’s grab a mug of ale and start chatting.”
Conway approaches the bar and taps his fingers to get the bartender’a attention. “Greetings friend, we are weary travelers here on a job. First we would like two mugs of ale and secondly... anything going on in town that we may help with?”
As you approach the bar Sildar finishes with the barkeep gives you a nod then hobbles up to his room. The short human bartender greets you with a warming smile.
The bartender holds his arms out and says, "Certainly! Welcome to the Stonehill Inn! I am proprietor Toblen Stonehill and it seems like today full of new faces!"
Toblen grabs two mugs from behind the Inn, "You'll find no better establishment in all of Phandalin! For two mugs it'll be 4 copper pieces each and you won't be disappointed my friends! Would you like a place to rest your weary heads? We have six, well now after that gentleman five rooms available for 5 silver pieces per night per room. Say the word and I'll have my wife Trilena show you to your rooms! Or room if you prefer to share. She'll have to stop chasing my boy Pip around for five minutes to do it though! Ha Ha!
Toblen gives a hearty laugh and points to his wife Trilena who was previously chasing the young boy you now know as Pip as she grabs him by the ear and starts dragging him back to the kitchen. Between her scolding she catches you all looking and gives one of the more forced smiles you have ever seen.
Toblen then slides two full mugs of ale to you(Please deduct 4 copper pieces each from inventory) then sits back and places both arms on the table. "If you're looking for things to help with you are in the right place! All day and all night folks pour in here to tell me their troubles. Just ask around though there's no telling how much of it is true and not some crazy ghost story. Shoot, I know I would love if somebody did something about those dang Redbrands... Tyr knows that blasted Harbin Wester won't..."
Toblen stops mid sentence and you sense some hesitancy and some fear in his voice. Toblen then says, "Anyway... Will you be needing a room or two?
**FAWN AND CYPRESS**
You see pain come across Elmar's face as Fawn delivers the news to him. The old man sinks back and leans against a nearby table.
Elmar then says to you, "This is terrible... Thank you for telling me. I don't know Sildar but I know his brothers Nundro and Tharden. They were camped somewhere outside of town but I haven't seen them in a ten-day."
As the news sinks in about Gundren being taken by the Cragmaw clan his face begins to lose hope.
Elmar helplessly and in a lower voice says, "No.. No I'm sorry. I am but an old merchant and have not ventured out. Of course we have our own troubles here in Phandalin without worrying about goblins. I have heard of that clan. The goblins are said to file their teeth to make them sharper. Filthy creatures. I have no idea where this Castle is or who this Black Spider is but you must save Gundren!
Elmar mutters to himself racking his memory for anything useful. "I'm sorry. I don't think I will be of help for this type of information. But, there is a half-elf that sometimes comes by. He has never told me so but I think he was once an adventurer! He just has that look, like you all have. He lives in a tidy little cottage beside the apple orchard. Look for the smoke! He normally has a fine going inside no matter day or night."
“Yes we want to do everything in our power to get him back safely.” Fawn says to Elmar “We will head over and visit the half elf and see what we can find out. Thank you so much for your help. We will be back with the rest of group I’m sure before we head out to get supplies.”
Fawn turns to Cypress
“Should we go visit the half elf before we meet the gang over at the merchants?”
Hablen inquires with Toblen regarding his statements specifically the Redbrands. The young human becomes defensive, "I'm.. I'm.. Sorry. I've already said too much. I don't want to stir up any trouble."
Hablen Insight Check
You are able to discern that Toblen is genuinely terrified to speak to you about the Redbrands.
At that moment you hear a tiny voice from down below, it appears Toblen's son Pip has gave his mother the slip once again and is now near your feet.
Pip states innocently to you, "Are you looking for Redbrands? My friend Carp over at Alderleaf Farm said he found a secret Redbrand tunnel!"
Toblen rushes around at the moment and scoops up the boy scolding him and covering his mouth. He takes the boy into the back room once again. Trilena, Toblen's wife walks up to you speaking quietly in a hushed southern accent.
Trilena says to you both, "You will have to excuse my dear husband. Everybody's been jumpy 'round here since them Redbrands came around. He just doesn't want no harm to come to us is all.
Trilena shakes her head in disappointment.
Trilena then says again, "It's only going to get worse. Thel Dendrar, a local woodcarver, stood up to them Redbrands a tenday ago when they came by his shop making googly eyes at his wife. Those ruffians murdered him! Several townsfolk saw it happen. The Redbrands grabbed his body, and now his wife, daughter, and son have gone missing too. Ya'll be careful 'round here. It's getting dark out and it's no place to be at night with only the two of ya. Will you be staying with us tonight?"
**FAWN AND CYPRESS**
You make your way towards the orchard easily enough. The daylight is starting to dim and is accompanied by the sounds of the insects of the night. As you walk through the streets you notice eyes on you. Some individuals wearing red cloaks seem especially interested in your presence and whisper among themselves.
As you approach the orchard every now then you hear an audible "thwack.... thwack.... thwack..." Your eyes eventually land on tidy little cottage with smoke billowing out of the top beside the apple orchard. Outside of the cottage you spot a silver-haired half elf well over a hundred years old. He has a woodaxe in his hand and is splitting wood for the evening. He is shirtless and while he is not chiseled you clearly make out muscle definition as well as scars. You get the sense that this is the person you are looking for. He looks up at you and wipes the sweat from his brow. He pulls his cut off blue trousers up around his hips and scans both of you quickly. He then holds his axe in a way that is not menacing but would be able to become useful quickly.
The half-elf speaks to you in a gruff voice, "Well you don't look like Redbrand filth and I know you aren't from around here, elves. My name is Daran Edermath. State your names and your business for being on my land."
Toblen hesitantly nods and allows Pip to speak but puts his finger up to his mouth to ensure Pip knows to be quite.
Pip says to Conway in a louder whisper than his father would like, "I didn't see it! My friend Cap who lives over at the Alderleaf Farm did. It's not far from here. I go play sometimes there in the day. Well I did but now father won't let me because of the bad men."
Toblen chimes in, "If you are truly looking to do something I know many people in this town would be grateful. You will find the Alderleaf farm by going out the front door here, walking straight then taking your second left and following it to the end. Phandalin isn't that big so you can't miss it. But please, please, do not tell anyone that we have spoken with you."
Toblen looks around the room to make sure no one is listening.
Toblen then says, "The Redbrands have been allowed to terrorize this town for too long. You can spot them as they all wear red cloaks like a badge of honor. Do not expect any help locally. Our town master Harbin Wester will do nothing to stop them. As my wife said, poor Thel tried to stand up to them and was killed in his own shop in front of witnesses! Nothing was done and now his family is missing! Please you cannot share with anyone that we have spoken regarding the Redbrands or they will harm my family."
“We were sent here by Elmar, from Barthans provisions”, Cypress explains, “he said you seemed to be an adventurer like us. An acquaintance of ours, Gunderon, has been kidnapped and we seek information on who took him.” Cypress reaches out to shake his hand “My name is Cypress Sycamore and this is my friend Fawn”
Daran drops the woodaxe down to his side where the head rests at his feet and shakes his head.
Daran then says, "I am sorry to hear of your friend. Elmar is slightly accurate. I was once an adventurer but I am retired now. I served as a marshal and herald for many years int he lands of the Dragon Coast. Since I have retired here to my original home I have been keeping an eye on things but have not been able to do much as this body is beginning to fail me."
Daran takes the woodaxe up and wrings it with has hands and looks toward the East.
Daran then says, "Cypress Sycamore and Fawn, I am sorry to tell you I know not who has taken your friend. But, if I was to make a wager I would say the Redbrand gang had something to do with it. They have put fear into this town. I have been hoping some brave adventurers would teach those ruffians a lesson. I am sure you have seen them by now, if not they have most certainly seen you. The Redbrands are easy to spot as they always wear red cloaks that look they have never been washed."
Daran points his woodaxe to the East.
Daran then says, "If you seek them out they hang around the Sleeping Giant tap house. But if you want to eradicate them, you will need to take out their nest. The Redbrand safe house lies under Tresendar Manor, the ruin at the east edge of town."
Daran tosses the woodaxe to the side and looks much warmer and friendlier than when you first met.
Daran, "Do you have any other questions? I am curious as it has been some time since I saw elves in this area. What made you all decide to pick up the sword and start adventuring?"
OOC: Posting the Map of Phandalin again so you don't have to switch back to Page 1.
“One day I consulted the stars to see what they had planned for me because I was so lost on my own. They pointed me in the path of a traveler of sorts, some may say a gypsy, the rest just followed suit.”
“Do you know anything about Cragmaw Castle? That is where we believe they are holding him.
Sildar also overheard the goblin say that Black Spider was the one who sent the order to bring him back to him.
You wouldn’t happen to know who or what the Black Spider is would you? “
Toblen nods to you and you see his wife Trilena come up and take Pip by the hand.
Trilena says, "Come deary, it's time for bed."
You both exit the Stonehill Inn and then see Trilena escort Pip away. Dusk has come and shops are beginning to close for the night and the townsfolk are retiring to their homes before darkness completely falls. Halben is not concerned as much with the darkness as he has Darkvision but Conway will need a light source for his human eyes in probably half an hour.
As you are walking toward Lionshield Coster and passing through the town center you pass four armed members of what you assume are Redbrands as they are wearing the red cloak. They slow as they are passing you by and fully examining you. One is squinting and looking inquisitively particularly at Halben. They are continuing to walk but are occasionally looking back behind them in your direction.
Do you do anything different regarding your route to Lionshield Coster? If not, what do you do?
**FAWN AND CYPRESS**
OOC: I need both of you to make a perception check in your next post. Also, as a DM tip if you ever want to try to tell if someone if lying or hiding something you are free to make an insight check
Fawn shares her story in hopes that Daran will provide her with more information. He seems pleased with what guides her.
Daran says, "Ah! I have known those who follow their whims to guide them. Creative individuals who thought up battle plans that I never would have following my structured life preference."
Fawn then asks about Cragmaw Castle and the Black Spider. Daran shakes his head trying to search his memory.
Daran says, "Goblins and a Castle? No, I'm not sure of where that may be. I have heard of the Cragmaw clan but they normally stick to harassing merchants traveling the roads and never venture too close to Phandalin. Unfortunately, my scouting days are over so I try to not go far from home. I do not know a Black Spider but I do know the one who leads the Redbrands is a wizard called Glass Staff. My efforts to find more information about him have been unsuccessful. It seems even most of the Redbrands do not know much of the wizard.
Daran then seems like a light bulb has gone off in his head.
Daran says, "You know... Someone named the Black Spider just sounds like they are up to no good. As is anyone who hides behind a name. I have heard stories from prospectors in the hills northeast of Phandalin that someone is digging around in the ruins known as Old Owl Well. More disturbingly, several prospectors have reported being chased from the area by the undead! I am not sure if it is related to your friend but if you have time I and others in this town would be grateful if you visit the place and let me know what's going on. I would look myself but is is about a two-day march northeast of Phandalin. I would just want to know who's there and what they are doing. The ruins are an old watchtower of an ancient magical empire known as Netheril! If this is your Black Spider's doing. There is not telling what dangerous magic they may find dormant there!"
Well we hope to get to the bottom of this and hopefully in turn bring some order back to the town. Thank you Daran for all your help.
Fawn turns to Cypress
“Shall we’ll stop by the Merchants and see if our comrades have made it there? If they haven’t we’ll head back towards the Inn and maybe run into them. We can put our heads together and see what our next step will be with this new information”