After finding out about the fight between their two companions and the Redbrands, the rest of the party conclude that they will use the secret entrance to Tresendar Manor that little Carp has told them about. They hope that they will be able to rescue Dain and Alton, while at the same time stealing Glasstaff’s correspondence for Halia Thornton.
Halia tells them that there are two other adventurers in town who would be willing to accompany them into the manor. The group tentatively agrees to meet them before venturing into the woods. When they meet at Guillen Alderleaf‘s farm the next day, they are met by a young Illuskan woman bearing axe and shield. She introduces herself as Valleria Thorsdottir of Icewind Dale, and explains that the other person that Halia spoke of is an elvish archer who is scouting the path to Tresendar Manor’s secret entrance.
The party makes their way through the woods until they find the dead tree that Carp had spoken of. The tree grew right up against the cliff the manor topped, but did not reach all the way up. For a moment, there did not seem to be a way up. Then two Redbrand thugs were noticed keeping watch in its branches. Suddenly, the elf materialized out of the trees beside the party and shot one of the guards with his bow!
As the second guard drew in breath to call an alarm, the shieldmaiden hurled a javelin at him. The missile struck, knocking him out of the tree where he landed on his back. Thorin quickly shape-shifted into a snow leopard and dashed in to finish him off. Once done, the group found that the tree had a entrance near its roots large enough for people to enter, and that the tree itself was hollow. A ladder led to a tunnel in the cliff face, which they followed until they saw light.
Entering a large cavern divided by a crevice, the group held back while Skithiryx used his unholy magics to invisibly scout out the complex. After discerning that most of the Redbrands were gambling in one room, the dragonborn opened a final door to find a magical workshop. Disturbed by the door opening, a rat scurried away and into another room. Returning to his companions, Skithiryx reported on the layout. Just as he finished, a secret door opened and a wizard holding a staff made of glass poked his head out to look at them. On his shoulder was the rat from the workshop!
Immediately, the wizard called for help and broke into a run!
Skithiryx chased after the wizard, who they all surmised could only be Glasstaff, while the rest dealt with three bugbears that burst out of a door and a strange, one-eyed creature that climbed out of the crevice.
Whilst the dragonborn warlock chased the fleeing wizard, the one-eyed creature met Valleria’s gaze. Immediately, she relived the fear and dread of her father that she thought she had buried away. While the elf, Sanjaleth, and the rest of the party turned spell, arrow, and claw against their enemies, the shieldmaiden was paralyzed by remembered fear.
Skithiryx continued chasing Glasstaff as the wizard hurdled through secret doors and ancient crypts. After blasting him with spells relentlessly, the dragonborn finally caught up with him after narrowly avoiding a pit-trap that Glasstaff had tired to lured him into. With a final burst of spell-power, Skithiryx laid his quarry low. It was only then that the dragonborn heard the rattle and creak of three skeletons crawling out of the crypt he had just run through.
Making his own way over the pit that had nearly swallowed him, Skithirx picked up Glasstaff’s namesake from the ground and waited for the three skeletal Tresendar’s to cross. As they did, he spat a stream of acid at them. One fell into the yawning pit, but two made it across and attacked!
It was a close call, but with his new staff’s potent defensive magic, the dragonborn was able to destroy the other two skeletons.
Back in the main cavern, Thorin, Durik, and Sanjaleth were fighting the bugbears and the eye-creature. Sanjaleth’s arrows, Durik’s spells, and Thorin’s shape-shifted claws finally brought down their enemies. Once the cycloptic monster was killed, Valleria came out of her paralysis and joined the other three as they burst in on the gambling Redbrands who had been reveling so loudly that they heard neither Glasstaff’s cry for help nor the fight in the cavern. Making quick work of the surprised bandits, the party met up with Skithiryx after looting the room.
In Glasstaff’s workshop they found a letter addressed to him. Reading it, Skithiryx learned that Glasstaff’s name was Iarno Albrek, and that he was working for an anonymous person who used a black spider as his signature. The two of them seemed to be looking for maps of dwarven origin.
Exploring the complex further, they discover the eye-creature’s den in the crevice. There, Valleria finds a sword inside a black leather scabbard. The party also finds the cells where the Redbrand’s keep their prisoners. There, they find the bodies of their two companions, Dain and Alton. The two adventurers are dead.
Saddened by this revelation, the party vows to see them returned to life if possible. While searching the cells further, they also find the wife and children of Thel Dendar, the woodcarver who was murdered by the Redbrands after standing up to them. Mirna Dendar is most grateful for their freedom and tells them about a jeweled necklace that her family had to leave behind in Thundertree years ago. She tells them that it is all she can offer in reward. Durik also discovers an imprisoned goblin that the bugbears had been beating. After questioning it, they learn its name is Droop, and that it is a pitiful being that cannot look after itself. Durik chooses to look after it. Kinda like a pet.
Bringing the Dendars and the bodies of Alton and Dain with them, the group heads back to Phandalin. After returning the woodcarver’s family to their home, the party gives them some money to tide them over for a while. Next, they return to Halia Thornton and Skithiryx renegotiates the deal for the correspondence to include the Tresendar Manor as part of their payment. The party agrees that if she is willing, they will hire Mirna Dendar as the caretaker for the manor and its grounds. While passing through the village, several of the villagers see the new sword carried by Valleria and all agree that it is Talon, the sword of Sir Aldith Tresendar, the Black Hawk.
Finally, the group takes the bodies of their fallen friends to Sister Garaele at the Shrine of Tymora and asks her to help them resurrect their friends. Making the appropriate prayers and offerings, the elf priestess successfully restores Alton’s spirit to his body. However, when communing with Dain’s spirit, she learns that he is content the rest in the halls of his fathers. He earned his place in the feast of Mordain, and while he will miss his friends and comrades, he is unwilling to undergo resurrection.