9th of Eleint, 1491
In the city of Neverwinter, a dwarf named Gundren Rockseeker asked you to bring a wagon load of provisions to the rough-and-tumble settlement of Phandalin, a couple of days’ travel southeast of the city. Gundren was clearly excited and more than a little secretive about his reasons for the trip, saying only that he and his brothers had found “something big,” and that he’d pay you ten gold pieces each for escorting his supplies safely to Barthen’s Provisions, a trading post in Phandalin. He then set out ahead of you on horse, along with a warrior escort named Sildar Haliwinter, claiming he needed to arrive early to “take care of business.”
You spent the next few days following the High Road south from Neverwinter, then veered east along the Tambour Trail. You’d encountered no trouble thus far along the way, but the Tambour Trail can be dangerous, so all were on guard when you discovered a pair of dead stallions at a narrow pinch in the trail. Closer investigation revealed that these two horses belonged to Gundren and Sildar. Several black-feathered arrows rose from the stinking horses, and to one side of them, there in the dirt laid an empty leather map case.
Out of the woods jumped a small band of goblin warriors with fearsomely sharp fangs and wild eyes! Combat ensued, and you dispatched the ugly little fuckers with expedience, if not with grace…. Puck of the Temple had never seen such a display, and was inspired by Brosiff Lightmead’s savagery in combat (the rampant brutality of which was to be matched later that day only by Conroy’s cruel goblin head punt).
One goblin fled into the woods, and after some crack investigation, Sagan Greymoor uncovered a concealed tunnel cutting north through the thick bramble and thicket which lined the road. You hacked away at the thicket into a dusty goblin trail, and headed several miles north, until poor Brosiff was caught in a snare, and a few more unlucky goblins had to be cut down to the terrible undergloom. At some point, Brosiff got a sweet leather jacket, and the party eventually found a clearing next to a cave mouth on a hillside. Out of the cave rolled a shallow stream of cool, clear water. After resting a while in the clearing, the party crossed the small stream, and saw beyond a screen of thicket lazy goblins, apparently slacking on patrol duty. The fucklets were slain, and the aforementioned punt did occur.
And all at once, the entire realm of your perception was seized with profound motionlessness! The clouds stood still in the sky, the stream halted and hushed, an eagle hung overhead as if tied to a line. Two weeks would pass before you’d awake from this moment arrested in time…