The group of battered and bruised adventurer’s take a momentary rest while Sylvar points out the dead bugbear. He is Klogg who was the leader of the goblins responsible for capturing both Sylvar and Gunthar. Sylvar admits there is a slave trade problem here when he is shown the missive between Lord Albert and the Black Spider. Neela prays to Pelor who sends great healing energy to everyone who feels refreshed and begins to look better.
Ahvin meets Sylvar in the hallway who talks to the halfling in a Thief’s chant. The human explains to the halfling he found something in the rooms beyond the crevasse. Ahvin moves over and peers around and confirms another pathway lies across the bridge over the crevasse. But it isn’t stable as it is in fact rigged with a deathly trap.
Back in the main room, Cloud tends to Mystan’s wounds, healing her further with green forest energy. Zinadeera takes up the glass staff and meditates with it. She decides to name it Hugh. Mystan claims the barbarian’s battle ax as her own.
With Sylvar and Neela in the back and Mystan in the lead, they cross the northern bridge and double back down to the south hallway. Once around the corner, Ahvin discovers a secret door. It’s locked. Ahvin spends a number of unnecessary minutes attempting to pick a difficult lock when it suddenly occures to him he has a skeleton key. Ashamed at his oversight, he discretely pulls it out of his pocket and uses it; no one the wiser.
They enter a large room with a water reservoir that signifies this was once the larder. It is ten foot deep within the cistern. Both Ahvin and Mystan spy a satchel hidden beneath the surface within the water. Among a couple of potions, money, and a spare change of clothes, there is a number of travel papers with different aliases all matching the likeness of Glass Staff – now identified as Ierro Albrek, the Seeker-turned-slave-trader.
Cloud begins to bathe using a tendril of water she is able to pull from the reservoir when a door opens and three Red Sash members stumble out, mid-conversation. They stop abruptly. They first see Cloud then Mystan and utter an exclamation; one of them blurt out with a, “Hey! Who the Hell are you?”
Instead of answering Mystan charges over to them. Since the three are stacked neatly behind each other, she throws fire into all three of them; the flame an impressive hot-blue burst. As the three sizzle in stunned silence, she follows up with a swing of her throwing ax at the first one. He has the sense to move out of the way at the last minute but walks right into Sylvar’s arrow.
As the first man falls, Sylvan hits the second with another shot from his crossbow. The man, burnt and wounded, approaches and jabs his sword at Mystan. The third fumbles out a crossbow and fires at the dragonborn as well but misses.
Cloud shapes the water, and in an effort to distract the second man, whips a water chord into him. He fumbles back in confusion which gives Mystan the opportunity to strike the man down. Cloud returns the water to the reservoir and it turns red momentarily.
The tabaxi moves up to the third and last man who is standing back in the room which is beginning to catch flame from the dragonborn’s fire breath. She goes into a frenzy, still reeling with the after-shock of her bloodthirsty earlier when she killed the bugbear. The last of the Red Brands dodge as the druid swings, blinded by her tears and rage.
Ahvin leaps over the reservoir, dashes behind the last man while he’s distracted by the fur and claws. The halfling artistically lunges and buries his rapier into his back. The room is now in full burn as flames hungrily eat away at every item it finds. Cloud steadies herself and once again shapes water from the reservoir to douse the flames.
They find within this room some more money. As best they can tell, this room was being used as a barracks.
Sylvar pops open another door with stairs leading up to the ground floor of the mansion. As a precaution, Ahvin runs up to find the ruins of a manor the succumbed to a fire an age ago. Finding nothing untoward, he returns to the group and they continue further ahead.
They find a hallway lined with tarnished copper. A relief of an angel denotes a door. Ahvin separates from the group, and searches around the door. Mystan steps forward and several cracks reach her ears. She leaps back just as the floor opens up underneath her to a pit trap below.
Ahvin hears something from the other side of the door. Before anyone can protest, he kicks open the door, jumps over the floor trap and joins us. They react in alarm as they see a skeleton emerge with sword and arrow. They leave the hall back where they came. Ahvin peeks over the corner. A second skeleton joins the first. They both look around lumber as they see nothing. They are clearly not interested in leaving the room. The group decides to leave them and go back to the crevasse down to the undiscovered north hallway.
There is another storage room; Mystan and Cloud both find secret doors. Ahvin pulls out the skeleton key and the north door leads to Glass Staff’s room. The southern secret room appears to be a weapons room. Adjacent to it is a door that leads into a second entrance into the room containing the skeletons we left mere moments earlier. Ahvin is careful not to disturb them.
Neela, as a distraction, runs back to the copper hallway and tries to vault over the pit. Instead the half-orc stumbles, tries to grab the edge but her sweaty palms fail her and she falls flat on her back into the pit.
Only seeing the skeletons distracted by whatever noise Neela makes on the other side, Mystan runs up and bear hugs a third skeleton that is lingering back.
Neela gets up, pulls herself up over the ledge and burns the first with a sacred flame. The second moves behind Mystan and savagely strikes her with a sword. Zinadeera, hopping on foot to foot, moves behind the second that just struck the dragonborn and relieves it of a few ribs with her staff. She misses with a second attack which only eggs her fervor on. She drops her staff in anger and with a war cry, pummels the skeleton into bone dust.
Ahvin props himself up a coffin, crossbow at the ready as Cloud moves inside and summons a flame, setting Neela’s skeleton on fire.
Mystan utters a deep growl. She takes a moment to display a full set of sharp teeth before she snaps her jaws around the skull of the one she’s holding on to. As she crunches down, her hands find and begins tearing off each rib she finds from its body.
The skeletons defeated, they hear from within an adjacent room, “Oye! Ye gonna let me out?”
As they approach a final room, they hear another voice. It’s female, young and unintelligible; speaking a language none of them can recognize.
Cloud moves to open the door, but Mystan lifts her up by the scruff of her neck. “Wait!” and turns her face to the stout figure within a cage in the dark room beyond. “One condition. I get to stroke your beard.”
The little girl tentatively speaks. “Is my mother out there?”
Neela exhales as if she took a punch in the gut. While Sylvar tells Gunthar to shush, Neela approaches the girl who has the same glowing eyes as the assimar cleric they encountered earlier. The half-orc steels herself and as gently as she is able, addresses the girl. “As soon as they put that collar on her, your mother was gone.”
The girl who is about ten years of age considers this for a second and nods. “Tell me her killers are dead as well.”
Neela works her thoughts as quickly as she can. It is, after all, Mystan who technically dealt her mother the final death blow. “Your mother’s captors have been all been destroyed.”
Without further word, the girl nods. Neela invites her back to the farm, promising a hearty meal and warmth. The girl accepts and Sylvar leads the girl aside and throws a blanket around her.
Mystan turns to Gunthar and orders him a bath. With post haste, she carries him off to the reservoir and dumps him in. He splutters and complains but doesn’t put up much of a fight knowing it is useless once the dragonborn has her mind set.
Once she is satisfied, she orders Cloud to work her magic and the druid dries him off, bending each particle of water off him. They return to the group and Cloud finds the girl, changes to a harmless-looking mastiff and nudges her.
Gunthar grumbles about the goblin bandits who captured him. They caught wind of the mine he discovered and took all his notes, but Gunthar knows a back way in. The notes are in the journal we found. Ahvin and Mystan manage to talk him into a deal of ten percent of the profits as well as salvage rights.
Sanctuary was contacted and backup is coming thanks to Sylvar. It is time to return to the town of Phalandin and have a much-needed conversation with the mayor.