Beshaba has favoured us, and though the weather is inclement, we have indeed arrived at Thundertree ahead of schedule! A tower on the hill dominates this weed-choked ruined village, though some other buildings still stand, and a sign warns of “plant monsters and zombies”. True to form, Jorad followed the smell of gold and danger, and managed to awaken some bramble beasts immediately, but they were easily defeated through teamwork and violence. Sure enough, Jorad found an old chest with 700cp, 160sp, and 90gp.
Next, Brick cleverly smoked out the druid we sought, a filthy squatter named Reidoth, who invited us to tea in his smoky little hovel. He warned us of spiders and black masked humans (ooooh, scary!) lurking in the ruins, and we listened to him brag endlessly about the environmental organization he belongs to… but just as Goody Alderleaf suggested, Reidoth knows this land like the back of his ashy hand. He marked Cragmaw Castle on our map, and even offered to take us to Wave Echo Cave (let us hope he will not talk all our ears off on the journey), if we can scare off “Venomfang”, a green dragon that has nested in the village tower.
We left Reidoth, and found the dreaded overgrown spiders his sign warned of. Their reputed sting was more like a stink, and my poison proved more potent than theirs; however, the desiccated corpse of a hapless elfin adventurer who came before us hung here, cocooned in spider silk. His bad luck turns into my boon: his studded leather armour, so exquisitely kissed by Beshaba, once cleaned will be one of my finest possessions. The elf-husk also carried a short sword, a potion of healing, 23 gp, and 35 sp, yoink.
Before I had the chance to don my sweet new PPE, more bramble beasts suddenly lashed out from all directions. They surrounded Brick and I, slashing me to ribbons before they could be destroyed. We took a short rest so we could all recover, and Tegan soothed us with the first few verses of his new Thundertree composition… lyrical FIRE.
Relentlessly looking for fresh song material, Ramigil boldly uncovered a few more sooty zombies to destroy, and searched the old Dendrar family Alchemy shop, but failed to find anything noteworthy there.
Of course, Jorad’s unerring sense for misadventure lead him directly to the house were the black masked humans cowered. The dim-decked cohort turned out to be, wait for it… dragon cosplayers: grown adults, playing absurd, childish fantasy games… Beshaba’s breath, I almost pity them and their wasted lives. Their leader, Favric, sounded like a man of the cloth, and claimed that the group was there to befriend the dragon, evidently unaware of how stupid he looked and sounded when he said this. Jorad claimed we were here to do the same, so we left the dracomaniacs and headed to the tower.
Once we got there, I bashed open a cottage window shutter, and saw the entry to the tower itself was blocked by much rubbish, rubble, and ruin. I headed back down the winding path to locate Tolarin, only to discover the dragon cultists had betrayed their word, and followed us to the tower.
I commanded them to leave, and grasping that I would broach no debate on the matter, they turned tail and retreated. Just in time, too, for Tegan, in his rush for rhyme and riches, decided to single-handedly engage the dragon in battle! I ran uphill to join the chaotic fray. As Jorad and Tegan both lay wounded, I fired wildly upon the now-soaring beast, and an unexpected surge of my wild magic miraculously healed all my wounds!
Beshaba be praised, Venomfang’s bad luck was our gain: the dragon fled, leaving behind 800sp, 150 gp, and four silver goblets set with moonstones, as well as magic scrolls of Misty Step and Lightning Bolt, and a rusty-yet-intriguingly ornate axe.
We took solace for the night back at Chez Reidoth. While the rest of us tried to appear very busy, the dusty druid cornered Tolarin and yammered on to him about his weird “Emerald Enclave” cult… Suddenly reminded of the widow Dendrar’s promised necklace, Jorad re-searched the old apothecary, and found it: a gold chain with an emerald pendant [worth 200gp, I’d reckon]!
I busied myself with deciphering the cryptic runes on the rusty axe, my magic instantly revealing its Dwarven form and content: this dire weapon, forged to make Nature weep and tempered with the blood of Dryads, was coldly named “Hew”. Newly appreciative of Dwarvish aesthetics, I dove into the previously-unintelligible tome I was carrying, now evidently ‘The Journal of Urmon’, telling the fascinating history of the Lost Mine of Phandelver, et cetera et cetera… Beshaba willing, we will reach these fabled mines soon, klaatu barada nikto amen.