Sebastian came to me, asking I ride along on the next shipment going to Phandalin. It makes sense – Phandalin a prosperous trade center will never be if a wagonload of goods cannot even make it there. He says to check in with his sister, Linene, when we get to the Lionshield Coster, that she will give a little more direction on whether I can be of service.
I’ll secure the shipment as I can; hopefully Sebastian finds some muscle too. A lock on a chest may keep a bandit out, but the wagon it sits on can still be hijacked.
Sebastian has found quite the escort. We will stand out like a sore thumb, though maybe that was his intent. A dwarf, Brenar, is the most normal of the lot. Prone to anger, though generally with good cause and otherwise congenial. A flashy half-elf, Aravan, who sounds like he would rather tell stories at a meadhall, and as likely to attract attention as keep an eye out for trouble. A bear, or rather a half-orc who dresses like a bear and goes by Mudd. And to top it off, Sebastian found a tiefling AND a dragonborn… Rare enough to see one or the other, much less both in one day. Noah seems twitchy and erratic. Daar is keeping to herself.
Aravan won’t shut up.
An owlbear ran through camp as we were settling for the night, and left undisturbed. For his unbearable rants about bears, Mudd seems to know the wilds well enough, and convinced the others to not hinder the beasts hunting.
Mudd and Brenar have connected over bears; not sure why either of them is working as a mercenary quite yet. Not sure why anyone else is here, either. Aravan keeps talking and showing off, but says nothing of substance. Noah and Daar are mostly keeping quiet.
Being on the road has reminded me of the slowness of life in Triboar. The Lionshields are worthy folk, and I support their endeavors, but I am running out of locks. Dabbling in magic has finally put me at a point where there is not much left to learn from them. And I think the local thieves have run out of interesting requests.
Our day ended with a batch of goblins and wolves, staked out in an abandoned village. Aravan is dead. We will take his body with us to Phandalin, though I have little hope it will make it to his family; his stories made the trip go faster but had almost no substance.
No signs that the goblins were placed by someone in charge; likely just a roving band that saw a good place for an ambush.
We camped in the town, and I followed a foot-path to the nearby wood just before dawn. These woods do not look well, and not just in comparison to the high forest. I may speak to Mudd, and see if his knowledge of nature extends beyond bears.
As we rode the nearby woods started to feel healthier. I spoke with Mudd, but he did not sense anything. Daar heard us, and insightfully mentioned that a sick forest may explain why the village was abandoned. No sign of bandits so far, but diseased lands do not make for happy trade. Perhaps Linene will have some insight, and the druids desire to cleanse the woods may be ignited by a closer look.
As we camped, we were disturbed by a trio of ghouls. They were dispatched with relative ease, but Noah called out they were ghouls before any of us could sense anything more than the rusting of their passage. I am suspicious: does his demonic blood give him senses beyond ours? I have not heard of such before. Did he sign up with the caravan because he knew of ghouls on the road, and has some necromantic designs? When asked he claimed he knew them by the sound… suspicious.
An uneventful journey. My travelling companions are still keeping to themselves… no sense of anyone’s greater purpose.
Day 6 (part 1):
Ran into a batch of Redbrand bandits taxing wagons rolling in to town. The group took some haphazard attempts at talking our way past them, but they did not buy it. They claimed they were taxing to protect the town, but did not give us a name of anyone other than their leader. Its possible Phandalin is in desperate enough straights they actually hired these men, but I suspect they are the cause of the prior disappearing shipments.
We delivered the cargo safely to Linene, who confirmed the Redbrands were bandits, and said she will try to pay them off. Linene said they had been causing much trouble in the area. The six we passed on our way to town threatened to come after us… I think we need to stick together at least until we have dealt with them. Linene recommended we stay at Stonehill Inn, and stay away from the Sleeping Giant, which has been taken over by Redbrands.
We heard from Linene that a group of adventurers came through town, left, and were never heard from… but that a man names Sildar Hall may know more about them. Speaking with Sildar in Townmasters Hall we learned that Redbrands have maybe 2 dozen men, lead by Glastaff. Some information about Brenar’s motives – he has travelled here to meet a relative, and explore nearby Cragmaw castle. Not sure why, but Brenar decided the redbrands might know something about this.
After Sildar, our group had a disjointed conversation, while most (other than Daar) wanted to deal with Redbrands, we disagreed on approach. Brenar and Mudd ended up charging headlong into danger. Foolish; we should have gotten more support, or picked them off one by one. Be that as it may we stuck together and all went to the Sleeping Giant… at least together there are five of us, and might get the drop on a bunch of bandits, better than if we separate.