The same night that the group from Neverwinter arrives in Saltleaf, the halfling adventurer, Alton Tealeaf, overhears the retired poacher, Jaq, telling the tale of his encounter up at the abandoned mansion. The former home of Elgoriath the Mad; the mansion has been uninhabited for some years, ever since its owner’s death or disappearance.
Intrigued by the rumors of the mansion being haunted, Alton decides to hike up the switchbacks to the clifftop on which it sits. Leaving his pet mastiff, Lucky, in his room, the halfling makes his way to the mansion only slightly inebriated from his night drinking at the Tattered Sail. Once he arrives, he climbs over the demolished wall and finds himself in the gazing at the looming manse. As he lights a torch to better explore the grounds, Alton is struck from behind!
Rolling to his feet, he sees a large canine that seems to be drooling fire! Reacting quickly, the halfling draws his swords and strikes deeply into the hellish beast’s flesh. It is then that it opens its mouth wide, and unleashes a flaming breath from its lungs! Unable to throw himself completely out of the way, Alton is engulfed in the flames and loses consciousness!
Back at the Tattered Sail, the two dwarves, Durik and Dain, sleep for a few hours before Durik is awoken by howling coming from the room adjacent to theirs. After finding a dog unattended and letting it out of the inn, the sleep-deprived dwarf begins to understand that the dog, a mastiff, wants him to follow it. After finally waking Dain up from a deep slumber (by upending a pitcher of ale over his head), the two dwarves set out after the dog to see why it is so intent on having someone follow it.
The mastiff leads them up the switchbacks to the mansion, where they find a seared halfling lying in a scorched area of the lawn. Taking him back to the village, the wake the priest of Ilmater, and ask him to aid the halfling. The priest, Joriah, revives Alton, and the halflling thanks all three for their efforts.
The next day, Father Joirah and several of the village elders ask Alton, Durik, Dain, and Skithiryx to investigate the mansion and clear it of any monsters or ghosts that may be lurking within. Agreeing to aid the village, the four climb up the hill and after some discussion, decide to enter through the back door. Skithiryx believes that the story told to him by Jaq the night before indicates that the cellar near the back door is the source of the ghostly rumors.
After Dain kicks in the back door, the four adventurers search the mansions kitchen for a few moments. Upon opening an old cupboard, Skithiryx is suddenly attacked by giant centipedes that had been nesting inside! The centipedes bite the dragonborn, quickly paralyzing him with their venom, but are quickly dispatched by the other three. Realizing that they can do little but wait for the venom to wear off, they move the dragonborn and wait for him to overcome his paralysis.
It is only due to luck that Dain notices four goblins sneaking up on them from the second story stairs in the kitchen. Roaring a call to arms, the dwarf warrior fells one of the goblins with his greataxe. The goblins break and run as their ambush falls apart, and the three mobile adventurers rush after them. Dain slays the goblin leader at the top of the stairs before being incapacitated by numerous wounds. Together, Durik and Alton finish off the last goblins, and drag Dain back to Skithiryx in the kitchen. After an anxious hour of waiting, both the dwarf and dragonborn recover enough to continue.
After Skithiryx overcomes his paralyzation, the heroes check on the goblin corpses upstairs and find a scimitar with a ruby on the pommel in the leaders hand. Dain stowed it in his pack, with the intent of having someone delve it magically later. At Skithiryx’s insistence, they all head downstairs to the door in the kitchen that lead to a pantry. Inside, another set of stairs leads into darkness. Lighting some torches, they descend until a terror inducing cry comes from bellow. After being briefly stymied by the horrific call, the party continues down the stairs once the two magic users (Durik and Skithiryx) figure out that the cry came from a permanent magic mouth spell on the stairwell.
In the cellar, they find numerous broken bottles and other trash, as well as a body at the center of the room. With sword, shield, and armor on, they are only able to tell that it is dead. One noteworthy detail about the body is that its shield bore a device of a purple heart surrounded by flames. As Durik inspects the body, Dain walks around the perimeter of the room inspecting the walls.
In a sudden move, Alton decapitates the body while Durik was turning it over. Bile and guts flow out of the armor, pooling on the ground. As Durik pulls his hands away, he sees that white worms have attached themselves to his arms, and are burrowing into his flesh! His arms quickly numbing, Durik uses a dagger to cut them out of his flesh!
Meanwhile, Dain has found a lever in the wall, and pulls it. The lever activates a hidden door in the cellar wall, through which the dwarf sees a room full of beds and a human sitting at a table at the center. Seeing Dain and Alton in the cellar, the human dashes though another door and flees down a winding stair. Alton runs after the human, prompting Dain and Skithiryx to follow, as they suspect the man of being behind the mansion’s “haunting”. Durik begins to follow, but quickly realizes that one of the rot grubs escaped his efforts to remove them, and is burrowing towards his heart!
With only moments to live, and his allies to far down the stairs to call back, Durik uses his innate sorcery to shock himself with electricity. The gambit works, killing the grub. However, it also stops Duriks heart!
Meanwhile, the three who followed the human find themselves outnumbered! Entering a cave moments behind their quarry, they stumble upon a hostile group consisting of the human they followed, two more men, two gnolls, and a wizard who cackles with laughter upon seeing them. The while Dain attack the gnolls, Skithiryx uses his unholy magic to attack the wizard’s very sanity! However, the cackling mage shakes off the attempt, saying: “Ah, one more voice to join the chorus!”
With a gleeful squeal, the wizard creates a spectral copy of Skithiryx that attacks the dragonborn, and then disappears with a wave of his hand. While the dragonborn struggles with his new attacker, Alton joins the fray. Wielding two shortswords, the halfling warrior disembowels one gnoll, then a human who was flanking Dain! Turning towards, the dragonborn, Alton sees the mad wizard behind him. With two quick strikes, Alton knocks the wizard unconsious, and the final human standing begs to be allowed to surrender.
As Skithiryx’ illusery attacker vanishes, all three heroes realize that Durik is not with them! As quickly as possible, they tie up the two living humans and rush to Durik’s aid. The day is theirs, thanks in a large part to Alton’s skill with the blade!