We quickly leave the prison in two groups, so that we can all share the 5 red cloaks we have, and regroup in the corridor with the locked door. I am all in favour of continuing on while we have the initiative and element of surprise, but the others think that the family will slow us down and they are vocal in their desire to return home as soon as possible. We therefore decide to leave by the route we came in, rather than through the dusty hall we haven’t yet entered. We enter the cavern with the chasm in the floor, and this time it is Garrett who hears the strange voice in his head. He starts to try and talk to it, and it responds, asking for nice fresh meat. We continue to ignore it, but as we are passing through the cavern, Mirna suddenly points at one of the bodies in the chasm and starts screaming. Apparently it is the body of her husband. We quickly silence her and the children and bundle them out of the cavern before they can raise the alarm. We rush down the corridor and into the storage room, and then up and out of the dungeon. We decide to return to the village by the direct road, even though it goes right past the Sleeping Giant which the Redbrands drink in – we bundle the rescuees up so that they are not easily recognised, but in the event, no one is paying any attention to us.
We decide to return the rescued family to Sildar, as being the person who is most likely to be able to continue to protect them from the Redbrands. We then repair to the Stonehill Inn and spend an hour ‘resting’.
Revived, we return to the manor. Having noted what appears to be a lack of sentries on the way in last time, we decide to take a more direct route this time, and we don’t appear to be noticed. We enter via the spiral staircase as before, and the store room appears like no one has been there since we left – the torches are burning low now and several have gone out. We proceed into the large cavern again, and hear the voice again, except this time we see where it is coming from. Beyond the pillar on the far side is a strange, one-eyed humanoid that seems to be the source of the mysterious voice. It asks again for fresh meat, in return for letting us cross. Garrett suggests the bodies of the Redbrands that we killed in the storeroom earlier, so we go back and grab two of them and haggle with the strange creature. We ask it where Glasstaff is, and it points to the northernmost passageway. We drop the two corpses into the chasm and proceed up the northern passageway as it watches us. The corridor doglegs and then descends a flight of stairs before ending. At the end, there is a door on either side. We listen – the right hand door has the noise of bubbling and boiling; the left hand door has the sound of carousing. We open the left hand door and enter – 4 drunken Redbrands are sitting around a table gaming with dice. Garrett uses a sleeping enchantment which unfortunately only affects one of them, and the rest of us attack the other three. The fight is vicious, but we are victorious in a couple of rounds. We wake the sleeping one and question us. He confirms that Glasstaffs laboratory is beyond the other door, and also that the other door in this room leads to the further rooms where three bugbears are quartered.
We decide to face Glassstaff rather than his bugbears, so burst into the laboratory. The room beyond is filled with alchemical equipment, but otherwise empty. There is a further door however, so we burst through that into the room beyond, which is luxuriously equipped as a study. On the far side is a secret door, which is starting to close. I rush forward, bow drawn, to try and shoot down whoever is leaving. Beyond the door is a flight of stairs going up. A figure at the top flings an ineffectual incantation at me and dashes through another door before I can get a shot off. I follow again and burst into the workshop through a secret door that we hadn’t spotted before. I rush to the entrance to the cavern, and see Glasstaff crossing the wooden bridge over the chasm. I cast a quick enchantment and release my arrow at hit. The spell multiplies the arrows in the air, and the bundle of arrows hits him square on. He staggers under the impact, but flickers his hand and hits me with a battery of glowing arrows of his own. I collapse unconscious, but Elaina and Aramil tell me that they rounded the corner a second or two later. Seeing reinforcements arriving, bows in hand, he gestured again disappeared in a silvery mist!
Aramil swiftly heals me, and I send the others back to ransack his rooms before he reappears with reinforcements – assuming that he has teleported to wherever the bugbears are, while I keep watch up here. There is nothing of interest in the laboratory other than some monkshood powder, but the study contains a bundle of correspondence. Critically amongst these is a letter from the Black Spider, addressed to Iono Albrecht, talking about ambushing us. It appears that Iono Albrecht, Sildar’s friend from the Lords’ Alliance, is actually Glasstaff – from the brief glimpse I caught, his appearance does appear to match the description given.
We decide to leave to regroup in the village and inform Sildar of this new information. The others grab one of the dead Redbrands from the mess-room to offer to the strange one-eyed creature in order to get back again. The strange creature seems very distressed by our attack on Glasstaff though, and refuses our offer, attacking Garrett, Elaina and Aramil instead. I shoot him as he charges, wounding him with an arrow, but he mounts some sort of horrific mental attack on me that knocks me unconscious again. Aramil dashes over to heal me again, leaving Garrett and Elaina fighting the creature alone. Garrett takes some heavy damage, although not before landing a couple of good blows himself, but Elaina is having difficulty getting a good hit in. Having healed me, Aramil rejoins the fray and I also start shooting the creature when I can get a clear shot in. Finally, we manage to kill it.
Resting wearily on our swords, we patch up our bruises and decide that it is probably time to retreat and rest our wounds, even though we have wounded Glasstaff and would dearly love to finish him off. First though, prompted by Garrett, I climb down into the crevasse to retrieve Tiem’s body for his family. Down there, I notice a chest concealed under one of the bridges. In there, we find some coins, gems, a potion of healing, a scroll of augury and an ornate longsword, which Elaina identifies as Talon, a magical sword of repute that belonged to Sir Aldith Trisander, who was once lord of this manor.
We hear the sounds of bugbears approaching down the south-west corridor so decide to ‘bug’ out. I can feel a current of fresh air coming up the southern tunnel, so we decide to see if this leads to the tunnel entrance in the woods. It does, so we return to Sildar.