Deep in the underground gatehouse for Frostford Pass, a tunnel through the mountains known as the Spine of the World, our heroes have managed to fight their way to the chambers of a warlock by the name of Azard, a human man who was in charge of the goblin troops currently guarding the gatehouse. After patching up their wounds from the fight with Azard and resting, the heroes ventured back out into the dungeon in search of a way to unblock the passage through the mountain.
As the heroes made their way into the room where they suspected the opening mechanism lay, they stumbled across a prisoner. When the heroes entered the room and began dealing with the goblin guards (along with another couple of kobolds mysteriously in place assisting them), the tiefling captive sprung up, having loosened his bonds, and joined the fray. As our heroes, plus the tiefling captive, dealt with the goblins, some of their number began rotating some large statues, causing what sounded like the grinding of gears to echo through the room. In truth they were trying to break the mechanism by which the large stone gate was lifted, but the heroes managed to stop the goblins in time, allowing them to open the gate. With the pass open and the goblins dealt with, our heroes had a chance to meet their new comrade: Bargath, a tiefling ranger.
With the pass open, the heroes journeyed through the Spine of the World before finally reaching their destination in the walled town of Brynn Shander. Unfortunately, their entry into the town was marked by an unpleasant sight: dozens of Blackhands standing at guard posts along the town’s walls. Once inside the town, the heroes were greeted by Mayor Busby, a friendly and graying man who also serves as the town’s sheriff. Mayor Busby listened to the heroes’ tale and welcomed them into town, thanking them for the much-needed supplies they had brought, and assured them that they would be welcome to stay at the Falconer’s Rest, the largest establishment in Brynn Shander. Mayor Busby also pulled Sardon aside, warning him that a handbill with his face on it had preceded him to Brynn Shander, though the Mayor assured him that he wouldn’t be turning him in to collect the bounty, believing it the least he could do for bringing the supplies from Mirabar to the town.
With the supplies being distributed by the Mayor, the heroes traveled to the Falconer’s Rest, a large inn that is part tavern, part hotel, part gambling hall, and part brothel. While cooling their heels, a slick-looking Blackhand in well-oiled studded leather entered the room and approached them. This newcomer identified himself as Andrez, the local captain of the watch and leader of the Blackhands in Brynn Shander. According to Andrez, the Blackhands are merely here to protect the innocent folks of the town, watching out for those who cannot watch out for themselves. The Blackhands are ostensibly there to protect the town from marauders, though our heroes certainly get the impression that the “protection” offered by the Blackhands is merely an excuse to plunder the town at their whim. A thinly-veiled threat from Andrez warned the heroes to stay out of trouble, and with that the Blackhand captain departs.
After finishing their drinks, the heroes split up, with one group moving to investigate the town and the other to claim the rest of the money owed to them for delivering the supplies. Harold and Zereb-Khan ventured forth into Brynn Shander to see if they could get a good feel for the town. Unlike other towns they have been in, Brynn Shander seems well-protected, and like it has yet to have its spirit crushed, though the presence of the Blackhands seems to put a dark cloud around the town. In their wanderings the two came across a man sitting in a cage, hanging from the side of the parapets. The man, clearly a barbarian by his garb, munched on an apple as he watched them approach. Ever curious, Harold engaged the barbarian and learned that he had been imprisoned by the Blackhands, though he would not say why, and the guards on the walls (while warning Harold to leave the prisoner alone) were no more forthcoming. The barbarian did not seem concerned by his plight, and casually tossed the apple core through the bars at Harold’s feet.
Meanwhile, Sardon, Theren, and Bargath had traveled to the town’s bank to speak to Rolgar Callahan, the local moneychanger. As they exchanged their letter of credit for actual gold, Rolgar let slip a startling revelation: he knew Theren’s father, an elf by the name of Morden Moonblade. According to Rolgar, Morden had passed through Brynn Shander some years ago, accompanied by a young apprentice by the name of Azard. Morden had been inquiring about a silvery liquid known as godsblood, which Theren was able to identify as a physical manifestation of part of a dead god’s power. Rolgar told them that Morden had come from the south, having taught at Blackstaff Tower, and had headed further North toward the Hellfrost Glacier, a place rumored to be inhabited by fiendish beings of all types. However, Rolgar also told the heroes that he heard a short while later that a contingent of elves had come to Icewind Dale to bury one of their own, and that one of the elves in that funeral party had come to Brynn Shander following the conclusion of their business. According to Rolgar, the elf told the Mayor of the location of the fallen elf’s tomb (which Rolgar assumes is the tomb of Morden Moonblade), but that map has since fallen into the hands of Andrez and the Blackhands. The only other information he can provide them with is that Morden spent a good deal of time speaking with a woman named Szelrina, a local saloon girl who is rumored to be involved in witchcraft.