Having found the Dendrar family, the party set out in search of a key to free the prisoners. Kassion Parathraxos used his dark magic to blast open the door to the armory and the party found spare Redbrand cloaks they used to disguise themselves.
Baffled for a short time, it was Kassion who found the secret door leading to the great crevasse. Here, the party found various provisions, which they took for themselves. As they explored the cavern, Rayne Moonflower discovered just how crisp and loud the apples were.
Two bridges stretched across the crevasse, and Magwyn’s examination of them determined they were sturdy enough. However, no engineer is she, for when Sir Ender stepped onto the first bridge it collapsed, he lost his footing, and tumbled into the pit.
This wasn’t entirely unfortunate however, as they found much treasure, and what would later turn out to be the body of Thel Dendrar.
After recovering from his fall and getting the party to the other side, Sir Ender and his companions found themselves negotiating further passage with the nothic, De’penn. While he would initially not let them past, De’penn’s starvation got the best of him. He betrayed his master and let the party past in exchange for a bushel of apples. He also revealed that the Redbrands’ leader was Glasstaff, and that Glasstaff works for the Black Spider.
Our heroes proceeded towards Glasstaff’s quarters. Searching his workshop, they found his alchemical dabblings, a strange looking book written in Drawvish, and a rat. In her attempts to communicate with the rat, Magwyn saw only fire and the symbol of the black spider. The party captured the rat, unsure how to determine its fate.
In Glasstaff’s quarters, the characters found more sinister evidence. The wizard had clearly fled in a hurry – perhaps he knew the adventurers were close. The party found a letter from the Black Spider:
My spies in Neverwinter tell me that strangers are due to arrive in Phandalin. They could be working for the dwarves. Capture them if you can, kill them if you must, but don’t allow them to upset our plans. See that any dwarven maps in their possession are delivered to me with haste. I’m couning on you, Iarno. Don’t disappoint me.
Unsure of Glasstaff’s fate, the party turned to finding a way to free the prisoners. Cunning and strategy gave the party the upper hand as they surprised a group of drunken ruffians. While Grayscale Mountaindew was badly injured, he managed to fortify himself quickly. These bandits were destroyed but did not have what the adventurers needed: the key to the cells.
An attempt to use the same deception on Mosk and his gang did not work out quite as well. Sir Ender succeeded only in provoking the bugbears into a battle. Rayne at this moment transformed into a ferocious brown bear and immediately disemboweled one of the bugbears. Quickly the party was able to subdue the group but Mosk would not reveal anything other than their loyalty to the Black Spider.
Droop, the goblin that was with Mosk, was quick to ingratiate himself with the adventurers. He told the party that rough location of Cragmaw Castle in the woods to the north of Phandalin. He also offered to guide the group to Glasstaff’s quarters – an offer that was met with bonds and a gag.
Our heroes now had the key to the cells from Mosk and freed the prisoners. Sir Ender broke the news of Thel’s fate to Mirna. However, they were still grateful for their freedom, and told the story of how their home in Thundertree had been overrun by undead forcing them to leave their home and all their possessions behind – suggesting that an heirloom could be found there of some value as payment.
Now what will the party do? Where is Glasstaff? What is up with that rat? What are they going to do with Droop?