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Our motley crew is on the road from Waterdeep to Phandalin, hot on the tails of the noble Yinth family, the leaders of a cult of snake-worshippers. Oberon’s handsomeness is in full bloom while Hagg’n is excited to meet their contact Gundren Rockseeker, who stocks Hagg’n’s ale. Nate, formerly known to the party as Olyver Gray, is a tad fed up with the cramped carriage and the constant company while things between Lianna and Georgie are awkward – they haven’t yet spoken about Georgie’s accidental slaying of Lianna’s brother who was working for the Yinths.
The gang is waylaid on the trail by a group of woodsmen who warn them about strange goings-on in the town. A group of ruffians have taken over, threatening and silencing those who oppose them. The townsfolk have witnessed strange snarls, unmarked black carriages, and a disturbing beam of light emanating from a decrepit manor at night. Many people have gone missing. The woodsmen suggest that Alderleaf Farm is a safe place within the town limits, but the majority of the party prefers a resting place with a few more amenities.
With the exception of Nate, the party checks in at Stonehill Inn, owned by a sweet young man named Toblen. The party tries to be inconspicuous, but they are so bad at that. They draw the attention of Sildar Hallwinter, the alarmingly attractive older brother of Duncan Hallwinter who set the party off on their original quest. It’s definitely of no note that Duncan was in love with Georgie who *may have* trampled all over his heart before she left town. Oberon and Georgie try to stealthily observe the goings-on at night. Cleverly, Oberon casts a conspicuous illusion while he and Georgie hide in the shadows. While the two move toward the light that appears from the manor, something behind them dispels the illusion, spooking the pair who run back to the inn. They advise everyone to stay inside at night, including Sildar whom Georgie has some difficulty talking to without blushing and stammering. The party retires for the evening, worrying about their companion Nate, despite the fact that Oberon’s sprite familiar Pyrrle is watching over him.
Over breakfast the group reunites and decides to approach the manor. Sildar heads to the mines to the south. Unfortunately, the party’s way is blocked by a large group of red-cloaked ruffians led by a redhead named Brandy who seems to know a lot about the party. She is also revealed to be the “wife” of Sildar. The other ruffians react strangely to Oberon who apparently looks exactly like someone staying at the manor. The group confirms that at least some of the Yinths are there, but no one wants a fight, especially once Brandy threatens Toblen. On their way back, Hagg’n manages to spot Nori, son of Gundren who has apparently gone off scouting the mines. After loading them up with his wares, Nori shows the party an old smuggling tunnel from his shop to the manor.
After successfully sneaking their way in, Hagg’n is triggered when he sees that the Yinths have confiscated all the town’s supplies of his ale, but the group manages to calm him down… for now. The party spots Thaddeus Yinth, the quiet, bookish son of the patriarch Oscar who is also apparently somewhere in the mines. The party enters the cellars in order to track the beast making the sounds they heard last night. They blow their cover when Nate opens a door onto two half-human half-snake creatures. Working together, the party swiftly deals with these terrifying beings and then regroups to figure out what to do next…