Taman and the party recuperate outside the cave and wait for morning to travel to Phandalin. Everyone shares a bit of personal information with one another before taking turns keeping watch while the rest of the group sleeps.
Heading back up the road from whence they came, they spot the wagon they entrusted to the squirrels in the forest. Suddenly, the group is ambushed by swarms of squirrels, but Merni manages to speak with the squirrel ringleader and fulfill his promise, feeding the entire flock of squirrels with 3 days of rations from his Explorer’s Pack. The wagon and its contents were discovered to be unharmed, and they took the wagon with them to Phandalin.
Taman takes the group to meet Elmar Barthan, a Human who owns Barthan’s Provisions in town. The group learns about the infamous Redbrand gang which causes trouble in Phandalin. They then proceed to Stonehill Tavern, where the group discusses where they may find Sildar. It’s decided that the group should split up and collect information.
Merni learns about a fellow Gnome who lives at Alderlead Farm who is familiar with a Druid named Reidoth. Reidoth is very familiar with the surrounding land, and may know more about Cragmaw Castle, a Goblin-run fortress where Sildar may be kept. Using a Minor Illusion cantrip to trick the Gnome into seeing Taman Hallwinter in the distance, Merni convinces the farmer Gnome to allow the group to rest at the barn and celebrate for the evening.
Althaea learns of a High Elf named Sister Garaele living in Phandalin and meets with her. Althaea then hears of the Harper organization, a secret society mostly comprised of Elves who act as peacekeepers. The Harpers are attempting to appease a banshee which has knowledge on the whereabouts of a particular spell book. Althaea decides this information should be shared with Merni, who is known for his obsession with magical objects.
While at the tavern, Thorin is greeted by a fellow Dwarf who recognizes him for his deeds as a Folk Hero. The Dwarf tells Thorin about a job to deal with a slew of Orcs which have been causing problems in the past few weeks.
Shamash decides to visit Town Green in search of information about the Redbrands, and indadvertedly causes a young child to be beaten by the gang of thugs. Shamash fires a warning shot arrow at one of the Redbrands before retreating, causing the gang to start a town-wide hunt for the one responsible.
Shamash and Merni meet first, where the Rogue warns the Wizard about the angry Redbrands. The rest of the group, including Taman, collect outside Stonehill Tavern, where Merni tells everyone to follow him to the barn where they can drink and rest for the remainder of the evening. Taman expresses his disappointment in the fact that nobody has any real answers as to where Sildar may be kept, but agrees to follow the group to the barn. On the walk, Althaea and Merni walk further down the road in private, where the Elf informs her companion about the spellbook.
Suddenly, a rock is thrown at Merni’s face, injuring him. A fraction of the Redbrand gang reveals themselves and challenge the Gnome and Elf to fight. After a few seconds, Taman and the others join the battle, and the group manages to kill all the Redbrands. Thorin is knocked unconscious as a result of the fight, however, and the group scolds Shamash for his reckless behavior which caused the Redbrands to hunt for them all in the first place.
While then group was resting, five Humans headed towards the party from Phandalin’s direction. They warned the group about recent Goblin attacks and shared an important piece of knowledge: Goblins are cannibals which feast on the brains of their slain kin; if they were to eat enough Goblin brains, they could become something more powerful, such as a Bugbear. The Human visitors advised the group to bury the Goblin corpses before Shamash asked them to leave, as the Dragonborn mistrusted them.
Instead of burying the Goblin bodies, Merni suggested using rope from their Explorer Packs to bundle the bodies up, and using the oxen to drag the Goblin corpses towards Cragmaw Cave to use as bait. If they could lure out any living Goblins this way, the party could potentially set up an ambush. The party decided this was a good idea.
After only a moment of travel this way, the wagon got stuck in some harsh terrain and the group realized they could not press on. Merni used his Gnomish skills to convince nearby squirrels to guard the wagon until they returned. Thorin then used his Animal Handling skills to get the oxen to drag the Goblin bodies along as the party traveled towards the cave.
After safe stepping several traps along the road, including a pitfall that slightly harmed one of the oxen, the group found Cragmaw Cave. Upon reaching their destination, Merni asked Shamash and Thorin to dump the Goblin corpses near the mouth of the cave. As the Dragonborn and Dwarf approached the cave entrance, they spotted two Goblins across the way, and Shamash snuck over into position to strike. Thorin managed to get Althaea’s attention before the group attacked and killed the two Goblins, and added their bodies to the pile in front of the cave.
Merni attempted to impersonate a Goblin and called into the cave, however was unsuccessful at disguising his voice well enough, and incited an attack. Four Goblins and a Wolf headed down the cave, and the party proceeded to use ranged attacks, while Thorin dealt melee damage. Thorin was knocked unconscious but the party rested overnight allowing all the wounded party members to regain their health.
Deciding to keep to a more stealthy approach in their rescue mission, Althaea and Merni realized they both had Disguise Kits and were proficient in them, so they disguised themselves as Goblins and tried to scout out the cave while Thorin and Shamash buried the Goblin corpses. They found a pair of Wolves tied to a post, as well as a lookout Goblin, which spotted the disguised Gnome and Elf and demanded to know what was happening outside. Althaea failed to trick the Goblin into revealing information, causing the lookout Goblin to believe they were intruding creatures. The Goblin lookout pulled a lever which opened a floodgate which ejected Althaea and Merni from the cave, though it did not harm them.
Shamash then decided to take matters into his own hands and crept into the cave alone. He discovered a part of the cave where two Goblins occupied, as well as the bound and unconscious Taman Hallwinter. Shamash failed to go unnoticed, and one Goblin named Yeemik fetched up Taman to use him as leverage. Shamash blasted one of the Goblins with his breath attack, though it did not kill. Yeemik and Shamash continued to hurl threats at each other from across the room.
Althaea (still disguised as a Goblin) became troubled and went into the cave to check on Shamash, while Merni (still disguised as a Goblin) decided to explore the area with Thorin. The Elf Fighter bumped into the Dragonborn Rogue, revealing her position. Her approach was more diplomatic, as she and the lead Goblin discussed terms for Taman’s release: kill a “boss” named Klarg and they would let Taman go. Althaea believed his words to be true, and that a Bugbear may be the leader of the Goblins.
Meanwhile, Merni and Thorin bumped into another Goblin scout, who demanded what they were up to. Merni pretended that he was taking the Dwarf prisoner and got into an optimal position for an ambush. Together, the pair killed the Goblin without being noticed.
After a brief battle between the Dragonborn and a Goblin, Althaea was promised a Goblin guide to take her to Klarg. None of the Goblins would talk about Sildar Hallwinter. The Elf left with the guide while Shamash stayed with the Yeemik, who was still holding Taman prisoner, continuing to antagonize him. Eventually he went to follow Althaea, where a battle already took place where they killed the Goblin guide.Yeemik quickly investigated the area, and Merni immediately cast a Sleep spell and tied him up with rope while Althaea escorted Taman out of the cave to rest.
Merni, Shamash, and Thorin were led by Yeemik on a leash to the boss’ part of the cave. Merni made the Goblin enter the room first and was slain instantly. Shamash then attempted to sneak into the room but was instantly spotted, Klarg the Bugbear let a Wolf loose to attack the would-be Rogue.
A skirmish broke out between the party and the Bugbear, Wolf, and another Goblin. Eventually Althaea and Taman re-entered the cave and aided in the fight, though Taman was too tired to battle. Klarg and his accomplices were slain, but Shamash was knocked unconscious and stabilized on his own. There was no sign of Sildar anywhere. Thorin and Althaea found packs of crates that were stolen from a specific trading company: the Blue Lion Trading company, as well as a treasure chest.
The party was interviewed by Sildar Hillwinter for a caravan escort mission, from Neverwinter to Phandalin. All were hired and their condition of payment discussed in private. The party met Taman Hallwinter.
On the last day of travel, the party discovered two slain horses on the road. Althaea identified the horses to be Taman’s (Asheaba) and Sildar’s. The group was subsequently ambushed by four Goblins. During the battle, Shamash consumed the stolen Potion of Healing.
After slaying the Goblins, Merni looted their bodies and found a Map which marks towards Cragmaw Cave. A path that extends away from the road is discovered, along with drag marks. Before traveling down the hidden path to look for their employers, the party rested 4 hours for Althaea to naturally heal her wounds and Merni to recover a spent spell slot.