The next day a hand penned flier on fancy looking painted vellum is seen in the Town Green and villagers are talking about it excitedly.
Later that night it appears the entire town has come out to applaud the heroes and see who this bard was. Rumors were spreading and the excitement was palpable. Children were running through the square with crackle-pop fire crackers and smoke bombs. The Taproom had a bright glow from the outside and was decorated with flowers and ribbon. As the adventurers approached, two lines of villagers formed on either side of the path leading to the entrance of the Sleeping Giant Tap Room. They all started clapping and cheering and trying to shake the hands of the warriors. The familiar faces of the town-folk could be seen amongst the crowd. Halia Thornton was there and her usual grim face featured an unusual smile, although rather unattractive due to loss of a couple teeth (most likely why she rarely smiled). Harbin Webster, Linene and Barthen were all there cheering and waving.
As they entered the Taproom it took on a considerably different appearance from the first time the group was there. First off the tables and chairs had been wiped down. The back section had a large purple curtain in front of a make-shift stage lit by a number of bullseye lanterns. The crowd swarmed in behind the heroes and they were ushered to the front table set with decent looking china and stemware. Pitchers of wine and ale were on the table which featured a cornucopia in the middle containing fresh fruits, vegetables and flowers. As there was not room for everyone the doors and windows were left open and table and chairs were setup outside to accommodate everyone. Everyone appeared to be pitching in bringing their own special contribution to the ceremony.
Then suddenly the lights flashed on and off and the people became quiet. As the heroes sat down there was a bit more clapping and general shushing occurred till it was silent again.
The harsh tonality of a horn punctuated the silence like the revelry of a waking wait-pipe. As the curtain opened the notes went down an octave and the sound was similar to the herald at the start of a municipal function. Playing a dulcian appeared a short half-elf wearing a mustard colored puffy sleeved, velour shirt with tight red leather pants.
“Welcome good people of Phandalin!” – long pause
“We are here today to celebrate the heroes of our town.” – another pause for clapping and cheering
“It is my pleasure to introduce the Très Boar Knights!” – The lanterns move to light up the heroes and the room erupts in noise with the banging of cups and thunderous applause.
“Today we have much to be thankful for! Later I will tell you a tale of adventure and heroics – how the Triboar Knights ran the Redbands out of our fair town!” -He holds his hand out to quite the townsfolk.
“We have a veritable bounty.” He indicates the Cornicopia with a dramatic gesture. “Provided by the generous Qelline Alderleaf and our friends at the Edermath Orchard.” At the announcement wait staff from the kitchen arrive carrying steaming bowl of mashed turnip and bacon, platters of pork and spicy apple sauce, and finally stuffed turkey and potatoes. A collective groan of pleasure is elicited from the crowd.
“First good Sister Garaele would like to lead us in prayer for our good fortune.” It was difficult for everyone to concentrate on what the priestess said watching plates fill up with delicious looking food but everyone was able to end the prayer with a resounding: “Tymora be praised!” Forks and knives at the ready – the banquet began.
There was much toasting and laughing and all the while the bard plucked a lute. He played an intricate fantasias with much use of imitative counterpoint fading in and out of the background of the feast.
As the supper winded down the lights focused once more upon the bard on the stage.
His Dulcian was mounted on a stand and before him was a couple of small drums he began to beat out a 4-beat rhythm. Without stopping he sounded the Dulcian and switched between the two to play his lute. Not only was it beautiful to listen to, it was also quite the juggling act and Paraphan performed it perfectly. Then with a wink of his eye to the heroes he began to sing:
Phanadlin, Phanadlin a bustling town
Farmers, wood cutters who settled down
Built for a mine, based on a pact
Along came orcs who decided to sack
Echo, echo where can it be
Lost was the Wave just like the sea!
Phanadlin, Phanadlin took a long nap
While others went out, to find a map
Traders, prospectors came back to live
Finding Phanadlin was willing to give
Life blossomed anew, people returned
But it wasn’t long before they learned
Bandits, brigands were in their fold
Stealing, killing and grabbing a hold
Redbrands, rebrands wearing red cloaks
Ruining the peace of decent folks!
Extorting, bullying dismissing their rights
Until there came the Triboar Knights
Varis Liadon a spell casting mage
Flint Wellbottom released from a cage
Gobul Wolfsbane Alderleaf errant
Tellaos Tessel their leader apparent
Hadrek Rockseeker warrior priest
Is how we came upon this great feast!
Phanadlin, Phanadlin is now free
Three cheers for the heroes I do decree!
The roar from the crowd was deafening. “Hippity, Hip Hooray! The audience saluted the Triboar Knights. Then tables and chairs were cleared as the bard pounded out some familiar dance numbers.
After the rousing performance that the bard just gave, you all are feeling real proud of yourselves and you feel you can accomplish anything.
Everyone gains inspiration thanks to the bard.
Town master Harbin joins you at your table for a bit and thanks you heartily for dealing with the Redbrands.
“Thank you Knights of the Triboar for ridding our fair town of that scourge known as the Redbrands. I have learned of another threat to our little town however. There is a band of orcs that has been threatening travelers near Wyvern Tor to the east. This disrupts trade of course, and I also fear as they gain a foothold, they may come west and hassle our little town. If you can deal with the threat, there is a reward of 100gp.”
He hands you a parchment that describes how to find the Wyvern Tor. It is in the hills about 40 miles west of Phandalin. He bows and says “please think it over, but for now let’s continue with the revelry.”
Paraphan whispers to Tellios after Harbin leaves. “I think the townmaster had a few too many. 40 miles west of here is out in the middle of the sea.”
The townmaster re-visits you. He corrects himself, “um, if you’re facing North, then the bard would be correct that it would be 40 miles EAST”.
Halia Thornton joins the group at the table and clinks mugs with the party congratulating the group on their victory. “That’s some good work everyone, I’m impressed. Of course I have some fear that Glasstaff will return, but I guess he has been hindered for now. Did you happen to find anything in his quarters that may indicate where he ran off to?”
Flint thinks to himself, “What kind of group have I gotten mixed up with? Orcs, wizards, goblins …. BAH! I just wanted to find Mistress Magda and the orphans.”
“This Glasstaff person seems to have sent them to some mines as slaves or something. Maybe if I stick around with these .. er .. heroes I’ll still be able to find them ……. if I survive the enemies or my new friends.”
Flint excuses himself, grabbing two extra pieces of Qelline’s pies and a mug of mulled wine, and went out to the stables where he felt more at home and at ease.
Varis looks on at the conversation between Halia and Flint, pretending to focus on some patrons far off behind them.
After Flint departs, Varis approaches.
“Halia please forgive us for not bringing Glasstaff to justice. I fear that him nor his master will be pleased at this disturbance of their plans.” Varis ruffles through his backpack and pulls out a peice of parchment and his ink/pen. “I will copy these two letters found opened so that you may examine them at a later time. Hopefully we can learn more of this Black Spider and his intentions.”
Pausing for a moment, Varis recalls the tomes of lore and alchemy the party found in Glasstaff’s chambers. “I almost forgot. We also discovered books on the subject of Alchemy and Ermons’ History of the Phandelver Pact – it seems he has taken effort to make a concoction of sorts.”
Getting frustrated by his attempts to accurately copy the letters amongst the revelry, Varis completes the transcription and hands them to Halia.
“Please do keep an eye out for any new strangers or unusual creatures in town – it is not wise to anger a Human Wizard and expect no revenge in return”
“Preparations must be made before we can safely continue on the journey. And I may know of a spell or two that could help us in that direction!”
With a bow to his companions and Halia, Varis retreats to his room for the night.
Tellaos gets up from his seat, next to Sildar, and walks over to the group. He graciously waves off assorted well-wishers with a diplomatic smile.
“Gentlemen, we have to find this Cragmaw Castle. We could take the journey to see the Druid, Reidoth, or we could head north into the wood and find it on our own. Of course, we’d need most of tomorrow for re-equipping, but, we could be back on our quest the next day. What say you?”
Kerig slams his mug decisively on the table, following an exceptionally loud belch with a deep, but playful laugh that rumbles from within his barrel chest. Filled with ale and pride, he stands, putting him only slightly higher than he’d been while seated. Before speaking, he wipes the back of one arm across his face, removing most of the foam from his beard.
“Me cousin an’ I been talkin’.” Kerig nods to Hadrik “Long as Gundren’s locked up in that castle, an’ there be heads that need knockin’, you can count on our steel.” A point Kerig emphasizes by slamming a meaty fist to his chest.
“I say, we make for the mountains and show this spider our bootheels! Let us gather our weapons on the morrow and strike while the iron is hot!” After a quick, sidelong glance from Hadrek, Kerig continues, somewhat more reluctantly.
“Er, ah, O’ course, if there be a more urgent need, might be a small detour could be made to help those folks to the east. Perhaps it’d be prudent to see the druid along the way…” Kerig’s voice trailed off and his eyes darted to the faces around him. “’sides,” he continued, gaining volume once more, “Gundren’s a Rockseeker, an’ sturdy as the stone ‘neath my boots. Even a dragon’d chip a tooth on that one!”
Suddenly running out of more to say, he scooped up his mug, easily splashing half of it’s amber contents across the table, and hoisting it up. “To the Triboar Knights! To Phandalin!” He toasted then sat heavily back into his chair, loosing another mighty belch.
Paraphan winks at Tellios: “I guess having sharp ears gets you ahead in politics, eh?” He watches the group with keen interest, chuckling a bit to himself as the Halfling fills his pie hole and leaves, he seems amused that amidst these festivities the wizard is copying letters and reading from a Tome, the dwarf, obviously drunk, releases gas, spills his drink and barks something about dwarven pride…
“Well Tellios, this is quite the band of knights you have assembled.” He raises one eyebrow slightly and wears a mocking little grin. “What is it that you plan to do? Finding this druid Reidoth seems a bit more wise then wandering around the woods to the north, in my opinion. Plus I wanted to know if you may need some assistance? I wouldn’t mind accompanying you. I find the Triboar Knights, um… very interesting.” He pauses to pluck a few notes on his lute for emphasis. “I’d like to see this druid – I find that these hermits of the woods can be quite eccentric. What say you? I assure you I can pull my own – plus I will add to the renown of the Triboar Knights – I shall make you famous.”
Halia takes the transcribed notes from Varis, “Hmm, very interesting, so Glasstaff’s real name is Iarno Albrek then? It would seem that he is working for someone called the Black Spider then. I think it is imperative that we track down this Black Spider, for the good of the town. If you can find this Black Spider and bring him to me, I can give you 500gp.”
Tellaos eyes the foppish bard.
“Just what are you getting at, bard? True, we’re a motley band, but I think we can bring law and order here. There’s money to be made, here, too-as long as the situation stabilizes. That’s where the Triboar Knights come in. You can travel with us and create songs that speak of our bravery and fortitude!”
Tellaos stroked his chin thoughtfully. Yes, fame IS a good thing.
“I agree that traipsing through the wilderness is a bit daft. We should go see that Druid. And maybe having a silver-tongued rogue along with us might prove handy.”
“Especially if our cocks should need silvering!”
At fisrt the bard seems shocked by Tellaos’ off-colored comment but he seems to recover quickly. “My lord, I can assure you I am no rogue, you won’t find my dagger in your backside.”
“I should hope not! Daggers don’t belong in backsides, sir!”
Tellaos turns his head to Halia.
“Five hundred crowns, you say?”
Out of earshot of Halia, Paraphan continues his conversation with Tellaos. “What can you tell me of your friend Sildar? Would you mind introducing me? I believe he is a member of the Lord’s Alliance no? I hear they have deep pockets and may have interest in backing a gallant upstart such as you, eh? You already have a head-start being of noble blood.”
“Sildar Hallwinter is an honorable man, bard. I’m not sure he’d suffer those of your ilk.” Tellaos sneers, slightly, at the jongleur. "But, then again, stranger things have happened.
He motions for Paraphan to follow and makes his way through crowd, reaching the senior warrior.
“Sildar, may I present one…Paraphan Elspeth…entertainer…” Tellaos spat the last word, showing his disdain.
Ignoring the crudeness of the arrogant Lordling, Paraphan presented to Sildar with a graceful bow. “Sildar Hallwater, it is a pleasure to meet your acquaintance. I trust you are enjoying yourself tonight? I hear tell that you are a first hand witness to the heroics of the Triboar Knights, and that Tellaos had personally saved you from a clutch of golbins in league with Glastalf and this Black Spider who appear to be hiding out at this infamous Cragmaw Castle. Did I get that right?” He looks over his shoulder at Tellaos for conformation.
“Can you tell us any more about this Iarno? Was he a friend? Did you correspond, from the facts that I have gathered it appears someone knew that Gundren had a map to the Wave Echo Cave, correct? That is why you were waylaid by the goblins…
Hadrek didn’t know of it – I could read that dwarf like a book, even if he wasn’t half as drunk as he is now. From what I heard you and the dwarf left before them, any reason why? So now this King Grol at castle Cragmaw has the map…
What exactly would be the mining rights, say to someone in possession of this map?”
“It’s ‘Hallwinter,’ you…” Tellaos hisses at the bard, out of the side of his mouth.
The young nobleman blanches at the bard’s name-mangling. He hoped that Sildar was too drunk to notice this breach of decorum. A bead of cold sweat dripped from his scalp, and landed on his neck, as he awaited the man’s response.
“Yes, the Knights did indeed save me from the clutches of the Cragmaw goblins. I thought I was a goner the way they were beating and torturing me. I wasn’t much use to them since I don’t know where the wave echo cave is personally, so I figured they would kill me or sell me into slavery or something. I was thrown from a ledge by one of the goblin leaders and thought I would perish, but I fell safely into the arms of this strapping lad (he points to Tellaos) and since then Even The Nights Are Better”
“I don’t believe the Cragmaws in the hideout knew anything of Iarno or Glasstalf as you call him, though they both seem to be working for this Black Spider. Iarno wasn’t a friend really, but he was a fellow member of the Lord’s Alliance. He was sent here several months ago to establish order, but we lost communication with him shortly after he arrived. He apparently set himself up as leader of the Redbrands and was working with the Black Spider. I don’t know how the Black Spider found out about the Wave Echo Cave and the fact that Gundren possessed a map to it, but we must stop this BS”
“We left ahead of the cart because we had business to attend to here in town. I had to investigate what happened to Iarno, and Gundren had to set up the expedition to the cave. I believe King Grol probably has the map now, but he will probably be giving it to the BS and since it has been several days now, who knows. I am not exactly clear on the law of mining rights, I believe the Rockseers would get the claim, but it will be hard to wrestle control away from the BS once they gain a foothold there. In any case, we need to make sure the BS is stopped, so all of the area can enjoy the prosperity that would come from the mine.”
“Excuse me, Lord Hall-Winter.” Paraphan emphasizes, noting the obvious respect Tellaos has for the gentleman.
After hearing Sildar’s account, Paraphan had trouble suppressing a giggle after his suspicions of Tellaos were confirmed.
“Well I certainly agree, the Black Spider must be stopped and brought to justice. I am certain you can count on the Triboar Knights. I believe our first stop will be in Thundertree to talk to a druid there who knows the area well. Most druids from my experience can commune with the animals and plants and know a lot about their environs. Although, being a gregarious sort myself, I don’t really comprehend why someone would prefer the company of plants and animals over people… “
He takes a drink and while pretending to listen to the two gruff humans talk he looks around and makes eye contact with the lovely maiden who was watching him perform earlier.
“Will you be staying here? Do you need to check in with the Lord’s Alliance? Can you call on them for support if we need them to reinforce our efforts here in town to maintain order? I hope you will put in a good word on our behalf.”
Watching the wizard pack up his notes and head off to his room he wondered how boring his days would be wandering around with this lot. Having to listen to this boorish, arrogant Tellaos was already making him regret his decision.
“Yes, I think I shall be staying here for the near future. I think shall help organize a thorough search of the Tresandor Manor and perhaps post some guards there in case Iarno tries to come back. Maybe Periwinkle would like to help out with that. In any case, I would like to hear about your progress so that I may update the Alliance and I will certainly share any leads that I might uncover here.”
“Yes, well that is all good. gentlemen it has been a pleasure.” Grabbing an ale from a passing bar maid Paraphan heads over to the lovely maiden he was making eyes with. “Hail my Lady, I was wondering if you were interested in a private performance.”