The man stirs, revived by Rhogar’s healing potion. He is in bad shape, having been beaten and cruelly tormented by the goblins. His name is Sildar Hallwinter, a retired soldier and sellsword of about fifty years.
Sildar recognizes Rhogar as a fellow member of the Order of the Founders by the Mark of Convergence he wears. It seems that he and the dragonborn are on similar quests: investigating the fate of one Iarno Albrek, a human wizard and agent of the Order who disappeared shortly after arriving in Phandalin. Sildar was Iarno’s contact in Phandalin. The latter had traveled to the town two months prior to establish order. When nothing was heard from him in some time, Sildar decided to investigate.
The man agreed to accompany Gundren Rockseeker on his way to Phandalin, thereby assisting him in reopening the Lost Mine and restoring Phandalin to a civilized center of wealth and prosperity. It seems that the three Rockseeker brothers discovered the hidden entrance to Wave Echo Cave; the secret place is marked on Gundren’s captured map. Among other things, the party once again hears tell of the mysterious “black spider.” Sildar is surprised that anyone or anything could inspire sufficient fear in the goblins for them to follow an outsider’s orders so faithfully.
Despite Gundren’s current crisis, Sildar insists they continue on to Phandalin at once, rather than go gallivanting after their employer. He is not strong enough for battle, and even offers to pay the party once they reach the town — a gratuity for their rescue and escort. Gundren can take care of himself, Sildar explains, and the Black Spider wants him alive. He is confident that Gundren can survive a couple more days, according to what he overheard in the eating cave. It is a dangerous gamble, true, but more than a single dwarven life hangs in the balance. Besides, Phandalin is a far better place to refit and set out on an adventure than a goblin hideout, and the wagon of supplies might be stolen if neglected for too long.
Ere their egress, the party once more visits the kennel. Those goblins which were captured in the eating cave the party feeds to the vengeance of their malnourished wolves, to the quiet horror of Gnerx, who swallows whatever lingering loyalties he might have had to his own kind.
Boirin, harboring more compassion for wild beasts than foul goblins, wishes to rescue and make use of the wolves, if possible. Rána proffers the remaining pork, which the dwarf takes, while Rhogar casts speak to animals. At once, the barks and snarls of the beasts becomes savage and terse conversation to his ears. Boirin approaches cautiously, but firmly, and feeds the wolves. Roden notes the unmatched skill with which their cleric handles animals as Rhogar hears the tone of the wolves’ babble shift favorably. He informs Boirin that they have begun to call him “alpha,” boding well for his enterprise. Will the party’s help, Boirin pries the iron spikes loose, thus collecting the wolf pack on their chain leashes.
Back to the Thicket
The party makes their way back to the thicket by the late ambushers’ path, Boirin and his wolves in the lead. While they walk, Sildar recounts the legendary history of the Lost Mine of Phandelver. Boirin is distracted by the tale and, having forgotten about the untriggered trap, falls in the pit and injures himself (mostly his pride).
Back at the wagon, the adventurers pass the night in rest (for they reached the thicket at dusk), and take turns at watch in two-hour increments. Unsure what else to do about the Cragmaw hideout’s sole survivor and their faithful collaborator, Rána ties Gnerx to a wagon wheel.
Come dawn, the party is refreshed. The adventurers celebrate yesterday’s victory with breakfast (apparently Boirin had been carrying eggs for such an occasion).
As they drive the wagon back to the goblin cave, they are attacked by a band of three marauding orcs. Luckily, the party senses them approaching. Rána stands up on the bench seat and, after manipulating the tides of chaos, casts magic missile, striking each of the three foes with a bolt of force damage.
Rosen’s arrow hits its target, then the halfling uses a cunning action to disappear under the wagon.
Boirin looses his wolves, then slays the orc on the right with sacred flame.
Two wolves make short work of the orc on the left, one snapping at his leg, the other tearing out his throat. The third wolf is struck my the middle orc’s greataxe, the injury resulting in a limp.
Rhogar fires his longbow at the remaining orc, casting hail of thorns as the arrow is in mid-flight. As his projectile crests its arc, it magically splinters into a shower of barbs and briars that rain down upon his foe.
Rána joins the fray, running up to stab the orc with Phantom Pane…
Picking the Bones
The party collects the marauders’ weapons, adding them to the mounting pile of loot in the wagon. The party continues on to the vacant Cragmaw hideout and spends the morning hours loading the wagon with captured stores before returning to the Triboar Trail, easting at last for their original destination…