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When last we left our heroes in the cellars of Tresendar Manor, they were low on resources and dealing with a giant duck, a three-headed dog, and two apparent doppelgangers …
Upon closer examination, however, the Georgie lookalike appeared to be more of a reanimated corpse version of her while the Oberon lookalike was very much alive and even chatty. He revealed his pursuit of forbidden knowledge, particularly concerning the Feywild, and that he was using the Yinths’ resources to perform experiments like raising the zombified Georgie. He explained her existence was likely the result of some chaotic, magically induced rift that will occur in her presence and cause her soul to split. (She didn’t take the news well.)
The Oberon doppelganger went on to reveal that the Yinths/snake-people (known as Yuan-ti), with the exception of young Thaddeus, are currently searching the mines for an artifact that will enable them to spread the drug Spark via air and water across the realm, but they have run into problems with dwarves and drow in the mines. (Fun Fact: the Yuan-ti may have had something to do with the creation of the Feywild long ago.) In exchange for the party’s promise not to pursue him, the doppelganger agreed to leave Phandalin with his pets (much to Lianna’s disappointment), destroy the Georige zombie at Georgie’s request, and leave the party his staff, which they soon realized was useless. After a brief dalliance with potion-infused ale made by Hagg’n and Nate’s finding of a jewel-encrusted ring (later found to be cursed), Oberon used one of his doppelganger’s potions to scry on Thaddeus, who was still in the manor under guard, and the mines where a battle was apparently taking place and where they knew Sildar had gone. The party quickly retrieved Oberon’s sprite familiar Pyrrle from the hags in exchange for a similar scrying potion. The hags spoke ominously of an oncoming rift.
The party returned briefly to the Stonehill Inn where Toblen had a message concerning Sildar whom he indicated was in danger. Using Hagg’n spider familiar Hubert, who had been with Sildar, the party pursued. On the way, Georgie and Lianna finally discussed the death of Lianna’s brother at Georgie’s (unknowing) hands. Georgie vowed to protect Lianna and to help her get justice for the corruption of her deceased brother. The distracted party was ambushed by some of the Redbrands. With the help of a passing tabaxi named Rhodes, the party dispatched them – Nate killed one who had been put to sleep by Oberon, prompting outcries from the party. They didn’t have much time to discuss as they came upon a wounded Sildar whom they promptly tended to, agreeing to take him back to town before his attackers could return. (He ended up shirtless for very legitimate reasons.) Upon returning to the town after sunset, they found it apparently deserted and filled with the nearing sounds of growls and snarls. The party rushed into the Stonehill Inn but not before noticing that something was off about Nate…