While they party searched the mansion for anything of value, Skithiryx decided to use his innate dragonborn breath-weapon in a rather unique way. After finding a hidden safe that they could not open (no key could be found), the dragonborn warlock used his acid-breath to melt the safe door. While it melted whatever documents were inside the safe, a single ring survived the acidic spray.
It was also Skithiryx who discovered the mansion’s deceased owner’s corpse still bent over his work table. There the dragonborn found several golden objects, a book on transmutation, and what could be a philosopher’s stone!
After finding Elgoriath’s body in the hidden rooms beneath his mansion’s cellar, the party decides to search the sea-cave that Jim Jimson told them the smugglers had been using. There, they discovered three crates of brandy the smugglers had been trying to avoid paying tariffs on. After some discussion, Durik and Alton each decided to drag a crate back to Saltleaf. There, Durik gave his to Salazar Astoria to distribute at no charge to the people of Saltleaf, while Alton left his in the village square and declared a free-for-all.
Both celebrations quickly became riotous.
At that time, Skithiryx decided he would sacrifice a goat to Talos at the shrine to Umberlee by the coast. Durik and Alton engaged in revelry at their respective celebrations. Thorin gathered druidic components, then hiked back to the corrupted grove he had found with the intent of purifying it. Dain, who had been drinking brandy steadily since finding it in the sea-cave, continued drinking until he became belligerent.
After forcing an old woman to sell him her only goat for a single gold coin, Skithiryx took it to the shrine of Umberlee. He reasoned that Umberlee (goddess of Sea and Storms, and vassal of the Greater God of Storms) would not take umbrage with his offering at her alter. After making his sacrifice, the village’s cleric of Umberlee, Amity Darkwater, approached Skithiryx and spoke with him concerning theological matters.
After inviting him back to her abode, Darkwater asked the dragonborn to support her bid to become leader of the village. Her plan would involve Skithiryx and his companions framing her opposition, Lord Lasiter, with colluding with the smugglers from the mansion. The dragonborn assured her he would consider her request, then left to ponder the signs and portents of these events.
Some time that evening, a messenger brought word to Alton, Dain, Durik, and Skithiryx that one of Saltleaf’s village council, Lord Lasiter, would like them to visit his manor to speak as soon as possible.
When they all meet in the foyer of the manor, they are asked to wait. Dain, now quite belligerent, reasons in his drunken state that the nobleman is playing with them. Not thinking clearly at all, he decides to show Lasiter what happens when you try to power-play with a dwarf. Seeing a priceless-looking urn being used as a umbrella stand in the corner of the foyer, Dain proceeds to empty his brandy-filled bladder into it whilst the other three party members look on in shock.
At just the wrong moment, the lord’s housekeeper enters, and sees the belligerent drunk’s effrontery. With a shriek, the servant calls for “Hedrick”, and quickly a large, older human appears. The housekeeper tells him that: “A pig has made a mess in Lord Lasiter’s foyer! Please return him to the pigsty where he belongs!” With a deep frown, Hedrick responded: “Yes, ’Marm.”
While Durik and Alton attempted (unsuccessfully) to convince the housekeeper to reconsider, the large human grabbing the drunken dwarf by his ear and dragged him out the back door of the manor. After unceremoniously tossing Dain into the pigpen, he returned inside.
Meanwhile, Thorin had made his way back to the grove in the Saltwood with his druidic focus materials. There he fashioned a totem in the shape of a stag, and began meditating. Sensing the location of the corrupting force affecting the grove, the tiefling followed it to a cave where he found a hellhound!
At first, it seemed as though the demonic creature would be his end, but Thorin thought quickly and ensnared it with vines before it could get close. Attacking with all the fury of nature he could summon, the druid seemed to have the upper hand. That is, until the hellhound opened its jaws and spewed forth a jet of hellish flames!
Even as he seemed to die, Thorin refused to surrender the grove to the fiend’s influence. As his vision blurred, he found himself once again meditating in the grove. His struggle with the hellhound had been a spiritual one, and his strength of will had triumphed! The totem now resembled a hellhound, and the grove was free of corruption.
Back in Saltleaf, Skithiryx, Durik, and Alton met with Lord Lasiter, while Dain tried to regain his feet out in the stinking sludge of the pigsty. Lasiter thanked the three adventurers for their efforts, and outlined a plan to ambush the remaining smugglers when they returned in three days. The nobleman also offered his patronage if they would make it seem like other members of the village council were complicit in the smuggling operation, thus making his own bid for lordship over Saltleaf more likely to succeed. The three of them agreed tentatively to consider his offer, and left.
Meanwhile, Dain began walking back to the Tattered Sail, only to find it so packed that he could not get in. After being shoved away from the enterence more than once, he sat down outside and waited. It was not long before Alton Tealeaf arived back at the inn, and helped Dain down to the beach where the dwarf sobered up while bathing off the pig-stink in the frigid ocean waters. Once the dwarf was clean, the two headed back to their inn, and joined in the near-riotous celebration.
The next day, all five party memebers met to discuss what to do concerning the offers they had received. In the end, they (mostly) agreed to finish delivering the supplies they were hired to bring to Fandalen for Gundren Rockseeker. After Alton generously donated 100 gp to the church of Imalter and Father Dawnheart, they set out on the High Road once more.
While gathering food for the party, Alton gets attacked by goblins in the underbrush. Hearing a cry of “Goblins!”, Dain sprints towards his friend, while Thorin transforms into a snow leopard and lopes towards the fight. Skithiryx gallops towards the fight on his horse.
Dain gets there just in time to jump in front of two arrows meant for Alton, shielding him. Alton kills three of the goblins, but one flees. Skithiryx sees the fleeing goblin, and casts Dissonant Whispers on it. The goblins stops running, starts screaming and clawing at its head, and then falls down dead…
However, during his pursuit of the goblin, the dragonborn warlock failed to notice the noose trap in his path. The rope noose slips around his horse’s leg, and lifts it into the air. Skithiryx falls off and lands prone on the ground looking up at his horse as it gets dragged up into the air. Then the rope snaps, and the horse falls toward him. He rolls out of the way, and the horse breaks its leg… How much did the counter-weight weigh?, muses Dain.