The warm summer wind blew against Gilan’s cloak as he walked, as if it was trying to push him toward Leafside’s tavern. Gilan glanced to his left as he walked through the crowd of villagers, where he saw Garen and his men escorting Bert toward the common area of the town, followed closely by Annalyn, the widow. Bert’s head dropped down and stared at his bound hands as he followed the knight.
Gilan found it easy to feel hopeful now, despite the previous day’s adventure. Bert was going to either be sentenced to death today for his actions, or he was going to be freed. Hopefully, Garen would do the right thing and Gilan wouldn’t have to hunt Bert down himself, but it really did not matter either way. The goblin encampment was destroyed, and Leafside could go back to its peaceful existence. Bert’s inevitable death was just a consequence of his choices, death was the only way to stop someone who was so easily convinced to collude with goblins and evil clerics. Maybe Bert would come back as a more desirable creature in his next life, but it seemed unlikely. Gilan snapped his head back toward the tavern, unwilling to think any more about the prisoner’s situation.
The distraction of The Dancing Blade drew Gilan away from the busy street. Kogan’s bar was almost totally empty, nearly everyone had gone outside to learn Bert’s fate. Silas, in his long black cloak, sat alone at a table near the door, sipping one of Kogan’s famous mugs of cider. Parios, the tall Wood Elf barbarian, stood at Kogas’ bar, near the window, so he could have a good view outside where Jillia was watching Bert’s trial.
Gilan sat down and tried to enjoy his breakfast, but the yelling outside frequently interrupted the calmness of the tavern. He did his best to ignore most of Garen’s dialog, but his keen hearing could not help but notice Annalyn’s yelling and crying outside.
A shrill scream suddenly erupted from the courtyard. It carried off the buildings outside, and echoed across town, rising over Annalyn’s sobbing, and Garen’s lecture of Bert. Spurred by the scream, Parios looked outside the window and sprung into action. With a quick movement, he vaulted over the bar with both feet, sending the barmaid running away from the seemingly crazed barbarian, and shaking the entire room as he landed next to the window. Parios raised his booted foot and slammed it into the glass, sending pieces shattering outside onto a couple surprised villagers. With a quick hop, Parios started to vault feet-first through the broken window into the courtyard, but a helmeted man appeared from the side of the opening and used his shield to shove the barbarian back through the window. Parios fell back into the tavern and slammed onto the floor, rattling the ancient building and causing the servingware to fly off the bar.
The red-cloaked mercenary stood at the window, drew his short sword, and grinned, showing his near-toothless smile. Parios, fuming with anger, sprung to his feet. Before the brigand could react, Parios grabbed him by the front collar of his chainmail armor. The brigand’s grin turned into a gasp as the barbarian’s muscles knotted and he pulled the brigand off his feet and through the window. The barbarian practically threw the brigand head-first into Kogath’s bar, where he convulsed for a moment and stopped moving.
Gilan started to move toward the door, but Silas’ lightning reflexes took the warlock outside well before the Druid could react. Silas was nearly run over by a villager carrying her baby as he ran out the tavern door. He was surprised, she seemed to be running toward the commotion at the town square. Silas looked past her and noticed why she was running— he saw nearly an entire squad of enemies had invaded the small town. Two brigands with their swords drawn were running in his direction from a nearby building, two footed goblins with nasty spears poked at a couple villagers nearby, and a goblin riding a dire wolf had a town guard pinned to the ground near the town’s well. Finally, the obvious leader of the group, a hobgoblin with two wicked swords, spit out orders in his own guttural language. Silas wondered how they all got this far into Leafside, but he didn’t have much time to consider the situation, it was clear these enemies were more than willing to kill everyone in town if they were not stopped.
While Gilan made his way to the door, he watched Parios hurl one of his axes out the window. He was not sure about the wood elf’s target, but Parios seemed to be happy with his throw. Gilan didn’t need any special senses to know the town was in trouble, and he was already casting his spell when he walked outside the door. As soon as his fit hit solid ground, he shouted the final words of the incantation, "… KASTA!,” and slammed his staff into the ground. The energy the Druid gathered flowed into the staff and into the earth then erupted under two of the hobgoblin’s lackies, throwing the demihumans into the air and away from the tavern, where they landed in crumpled heaps.
Silas stepped between the two brigands and the tavern. They quickly flanked the warlock as they advanced, using their numbers to their advantage. The mercenary in front of the warlock struck first, swinging his sword across Silas’ body, striking him in the arm, where it bit deep, drawing blood. The second tried to impale the warlock from behind on his sword, but Silas managed to step away from him just far enough to keep the sword from running all the way through his body. Silas’ grimaced in pain, and his eyes flashed red before the brigand could shove the sword in any further. Appearing from nowhere, black flames erupted from beneath both brigand’s feet. The flames roared and engulfed their bodies before they could react. The flames disappear as quickly as they appeared, leaving blackened grass and puffs of smoke. The brigand’s charred corpses fell to the ground next to the nearly-dead spell caster.
The hobgoblin, the largest of them all, started moving toward the adventurers, carrying his matching curved blades. The blades looked like they had once been fine weapons, before some novice blacksmith carved crude bloodletters into the backs of both blades. Although they were no longer any good against an armored opponent, they would do serious damage to the lightly armored druid and warlock, or to the innocent villagers. The stocky hobgoblin was almost upon Gilan, now standing next to Silas, who was coughing up blood on one knee. The druid did not notice the hobgoblin as he cast a healing spell upon the warlock.
The hobgoblin was ready to attack the pair with his blades when Parios charged out of the tavern entrance. The hobgoblin tried vainly to parry the barbarian’s greatsword, and managed to slightly deflect the massive weapon with both of his swords, but the hobgoblin was accustomed to far weaker opponents, and the barbarian’s strength overcame his defenses. Parios tossed the hobgoblin aside and ran right past the worg-mounted goblin toward the town square.
The goblin took one look at the druid and the warlock, who now both seemed unhurt, then jabbed his heels into the dire wolf’s haunches so hard they nearly broke the wolf’s ribs. He spun the wolf away from the two adventurers, then gave the animal another panicked kick. The dire wolf fought with fury to obey its rider’s commands, but was unable to comprehend the goblin’s confusing, panicked commands. The dire wolf’s indecision was more than enough time for Silas to close the distance to the pair, and the goblin never even saw the warlock before he was knocked off of the wolf’s back, to the ground, where he fell unconscious.
Parios entered the town square just in time to see Jillia run past the tavern and into the nearby forest. His anger still made his blood boil and he could feel his heartbeat through his entire body, but the peak of his rage had subsided, and he had started to regain his self-control. He initially considered following her, but he was lucid enough to know she was more than capable of handling herself, and he could never match her speed.
Gilan entered the town square first, accompanied by the dire wolf, which walked calmly at his side. Silas entered next, dragging the limp goblin, then released the foul creature and said to Gilan, “If the goblin moves, let the wolf eat him.” There was no possible way the wolf could understand Silas, but Parios thought the wolf looked hungry when it glared at the unconscious demihuman. If the battle, and the sight of the goblins wasn’t enough, the hungry-looking dire wolf caused the few remaining villagers to leave the town square.
Silas strode over to Garen, who was frantically trying to administer aid to Bert, the brigand the adventurer’s had taken prisoner the previous day. Bert lay upon the ground, his hands were still bound, and he had a crossbow bolt lodged in his throat. Garen, seeing the druid, pled with him in a panting voice, “… this man was going to tell us the location … of the goblin’s lair.” Garen gasped once, then continued, “ … there are more of them, many more … Leafside will never be safe if he dies.”
Gilan’s instincts warned him that he should just let the brigand die, he had thought many times about his death in the last couple days, but his mind overruled the druid’s first reaction. The druid quickly pulled the bolt from Bert’s neck and immediately started to cast his healing spell. The druid only had one chance to save the brigand, who was sure to bleed to death at any moment. Gilan took a deep breath, gathered the magical forces he needed, and felt an instant of regret as the wound closed. The brigand spat out a mouthful of blood, and took a gasping breath as the druid walked away, with the dire wolf trotting behind him.
Silas scanned the town square as the druid was casting his spell. He was the first to notice Jillia as she came back into the camp at an easy gait, carrying a small cloaked figure with an axe protruding from his leg across her shoulders. She plopped the dwarf on the ground, who was gagged and bound hand-and-foot, and he landed with a hrumph. Jillia rolled him over and propped him up against a nearby cart.
Silas and Parios had both gathered with Jillia next to her prisoner when Gilan dragged the goblin to sit with the dwarf. Parios smacked the goblin a couple times, then gave him a sharp kick that woke the stinky humanoid.
Parios took one knee to stare into the goblin’s eyes, then asked, “What language do you speak, animal?” The goblin looked at the barbarian and said, in an oily voice, “I ssspeak your language elf-man. Goblinsss know your kind, we enjoy the tasste of your flessssh. Grol will pull it from your bonessss and bleach your sssskull in the sun.”
The goblin’s head banged against the dwarves’ head when Parios’ fist smashed into the right side of his face. The goblin started to mumble something else, but was convulsing, and was only able to feebly spit in Parios’ direction before his head drooped to the side and a bit of foamy drool ran down the front of his dirty tunic.
After the goblin died, Jillia pulled the gag from the dwarves’ mouth, then said, “Tell us who sent you assassin, or we will kill you and bury you with this goblin. “ The dwarf looked at Jillia a little perplexed, then started to say, “Jil…”, when the rogue’s backhand slap quickly silenced him and knocked his head once again against the goblin. Jillia looked emphatically at the dwarf and said, “Listen assassin, do not toy with me. Answer my questions, if you know what is good for you. I will happily send you into the afterlife with this goblin.”
The dwarf shook his head, groaned, and looked back up at the rogue. Once he had cleared the cobwebs from her strike, he said, “I’m sure you will probably kill me anyway, but I was sent here to kill that man by the Black Spider. Before you do anything rash, I promise you I’m worth more alive than dead.” Jillia stares at the dwarf, then looks at her comrades and says,”I can spot a liar from across Neverwinter, this dwarf is telling the truth.”
Before Jillia could ask another question, Garen barged into the group, saying, “I must have words with you all immediately, it cannot wait. Come with me.” Jillia replaced the dwarves’ gag and stood to join her friends around the knight. Garen continued, “Your prisoner told me his real name, it is Blanton. He was hired to guard the stores at the manor, and he did not intend to harm anyone. He also knows that the goblins are camped at Cragmaw Castle. He traded that information for his life, and I trust him.”
Gilan looks at Garen and says, “You would really trust what someone tells you under threat of death? You are more naive than I thought.” Silas then cleared his throat and held a small black root up between his fingers, and said, “This is Emperor’s Root, the goblin spit it at Parios. It is poisonous, and it is probably what killed him. This root only grows in one place around these parts, and that is near Cragmaw Castle.” Silas sighed, then in a calm tone said, “I think the man is telling the truth, at least that part of his story is true. We can investigate it after we take Enthron to Phandalin.”
After rejoining Enthron, the chubby merchant led them to visit the spirit of Agatha. After she found Enthron unworthy, Gilan convinced her to tell him the true location of Wave Echo Cave. She asked the adventurers to bring her back a small mirror in an ivory case.
The party was attacked by Stirges before arriving in Phandalin, but quickly dispatched them.
In Phandalin, the party was to meet the Rockseekers, but found that Tharden was a prisoner somewhere. The party found the town overrun by a group called the Redbrand. They traced them to a bar called the Sleeping Giant. After a fight with 6 thugs the party captured the last one, and Parios intimidated Tharden’s location out of them, a Lair just outside of town.
The party went to the Lair, a cave nearby. Gilan, in panther form, and Jillia snuck up on the guards outside and murdered them. The party encountered some wolves inside, Parios tried to make friends, but dogs don’t seem to like barbarians. Silas had the “bright” idea of turning out the lights with his magic on the next group they encountered, since most of the party has night vision. Dispite Parios running around yelling, “Tempus Guide ME!,” in the dark, they quickly dispatched the guards. They found Tharden in a cage, freed him, then fought a bald man in a black robe with a crystal staff. The magic user cast teleport or something and tried to escape, but Gilan shapechanged to a panther and chased him down. There was some silvery mist and such from the caster, it was cool.