Trapped at the opening of the tunnel under the manor house, the group finally come face to face with the wizard, Glass-Staff, who immediately gestured to Zinssa and cast hold person upon her. The cleric could only watch as each of her companions were knocked unconscious by Redbrands, and then saw the visible body of Pinrun pulled into view by another group. Zinssa felt an explosion of pain, then only darkness.
The party struggled on the edge of consciousness, and crystal clarity only struck them when they felt the heat of flames at their feet. In horrific realisation, the group understood that they were being burned alive – witnessed by the locals of Phandalin. Howling into the night air, the party suffered in agony before darkness claimed them.
Swimming back to consciousness, the group woke to discover they were laying in a wooded clearing – a sickly green light casting a haunting light over everything. Confused, and unaware of their own existence, the party followed a straight path – seeing a distant ethereal bear standing tall on its back legs. The straight path moved endlessly forward until the group descended into a village of makeshift huts – a green lantern protruding out of the ground in front of each one, and a resident tending the garden of each. Humans, orcs, halfling and tieflings alike worked the gardens of their own huts, indifferent to the group’s attempts to communicate with them. Eventually, the party learned the name of the place: the village of the forgotten.
After stunted conversation with one of the residents, the lanterns within the village suddenly blinked out individually, and each resident rushed into their homes. The party followed, visibly aware of a rushing fog which seemed to flood the village. Hiding in a nearby hut, the resident spoke only once more: ‘beware the fog’.
After the unusual event, and once back outside, Pinrun attempted to communicate with a halfling girl who flickered with familiarity once the rogue used her own language. Seizing an opportunity, the rogue signalled for Kai to play a song, and Pinrun waltzed a halfling-dance with the girl. Seconds later, the girl seemingly responded and told him to ‘beware the fog’ and ‘beware the bear’. As the half-orc Void attempted to do the same with one of his own race, a distant and frantic voice ushered them to his hut.
Nameless, the scraggly human explained that the party were on borrowed time – every moment they spent on this plane of existence threatened to take their memory and identity away. He stuttered back and forth, before telling the party that the only location he had not investigated was the lake – but he had forgotten the location. He was offered a final moment of peace from some kind, but deceptive, words from Pinrun. Then the party moved onward.
At a crossroads, the party continued forwards as Zinssa tried to pry into Void’s reasons for being trapped at the Redbrand Manor. They were interrupted by a figure in the middle of the path, an elderly lady who turned to face them in the dark. Before they could communicate, a rushing fog descended upon her from behind and pulled her back into the depths of the woods. Void took steps to follow, but suddenly halted as the fog returned for the party. Racing back and chased by the fog, the group took a left-turn at the crossroads and soon found themselves alone again, and at a lake.
In the middle of the lake the party could see an outcropping of rock and a green lantern protruding from its foundations. Peering into the water, Zinssa was able to see a startling reflection: her own unconscious face upon a stone floor. She urged the others to do the same. Deliberating, the water-genasi, Akra, found that her usual affinity did not apply here, and as the party rushed to consider their next steps, they were assailed by fog once again; it raced in two directions from the opposite side of the lake, circling the body of water and leaving the group with seemingly only one option: swim for the rock.
At the lake’s centre, the party encountered another ethereal being – the lady of the lake, who bade the party sit awhile and not be rushed. Pinrun and Kai felt the powerful force of the being as the rogue taunted it and the bard attempted to cast Vicious Mockery. Void failed to communicate with the creature, before Zinssa urged Akra to attempt something: submerge themselves in the lake in an attempt to go home. Pinrun and Void attempted to rescue the pair as the two females struggled to break the surface once again, but upon reaching for them found only still water. The rogue and half-orc dived beneath the surface to follow – only Kai remaining hesitant on the rock. With little option, the bard submerged himself also, and the ethereal being hovered above him as he drowned in the depths…
The party awakened together – wet, confused…and back at the mouth of the tunnel inside the Redbrand manor house. They quickly searched the remaining rooms of the house with the now conscious Void, and discovered an alchemy lab, a group of drunken Redbrands playing cards, and finally…a hastily vacated bedroom belonging to a wizard – his escape disguised by Misty Step and a now exposed escape route back to Phandalin. Only a note was found on a writing desk in the room:
My spies in Neverwinter tell me that the dwarf has hired strangers to accompany him to Phandalin. They may arrive soon. Capture them if you can, kill them if you must, but do not allow them to upset our plans. See that any dwarven maps in their possession are delivered to me with haste. I’m counting on you, Iarno.
Once your work is complete, head to Thundertree. The ruins are being investigated and the fool must be stopped.
Don’t disappoint me.
A few hours after midnight, the party decide to follow tracks out of the room…