After being hired in the city of Neverwinter by the dwarf, Gundren Rockseeker, a small group of heroes made merry in the inn and then the following morning, set out along the High Road southwards with a oxen-driven wagon full of mining supplies, destined for the town of Phandalin.
Gundren Rockseeker and his companion, Sildar Hallwinter, rode on ahead on horseback, while the wagon made slow progress. After two uneventful days travel, the heroes guided the wagon onto the Triboar Trail, only 30 miles out from Phandalin, when up ahead they spied two dead horses on the road.
After investigating, and realising the horses belonged to Sildar and Gundren, the heroes were ambushed by goblins. After dispatching the beasts, the ranger Hjalmar found traces of tracks leading off into the forest. The party tied up the oxen, disguised the wagon, and proceeded up the trail hoping to rescue their missing friends.
Avoiding a series of traps, the heroes came upon a cave and got the drop on the guards. The went into the caves, and were startled by the growling of wolves. Hjalmar calmed the wolves enough to allow the others to quietly dispatch them, and the party ascended a tunnel up thirty feet into another chamber, only to find themselves face to face with goblins, a wolf, and a mighty Bugbear warrior named Klarg.
Although the bard Tector suffered grievous wounds, the party defeated the leader of the goblins, and used stealth to penetrate further into the cave. They rested for the night, and made their final assault very early in the morning when the goblins were sleeping. They found and rescued Sildar, Tector healing him with his magic, and slew the last remaining goblins.
Sildar told them that Gundren was taken to a place named Cragmaw Castle, by orders of someone called the Black Spider. He reveals that Gundren is one of three brothers who recently rediscovered the long lost Wave Echo Cave, the site of the mines of Phandelver’s Pact. He relates the tale of the Pact:
More than five hundred years ago, clans of dwarves and gnomes made an agreement known as the Phandelver’s Pact, by which they would share a rich mine in a wondrous cavern known as Wave Echo Cave. In addition to its mineral wealth, the mine contained great magical power. Human spellcasters allied themselves with the dwarves and gnomes to channel and bind that energy into a great forge (called the Forge of Spells), where magic items could be crafted. Times were good, and the nearby human town of Phandalin (pronounced fan-duh-lin) prospered as well. But then disaster struck when ores swept through the North and laid waste to all in their path.
A powerful force of ores reinforced by evil mercenary wizards attacked Wave Echo Cave to seize its riches and magic treasures. Human wizards fought alongside their dwarf and gnome allies to defend the Forge of Spells, and the ensuing spell battle destroyed much of the cavern. Few survived the cave-ins and tremors, and the location of Wave Echo Cave was lost.
Gundren had a map showing the location of the mine, but it was taken away along with the dwarf when they moved him. Sildar did not know where Cragmaw Castle was located, but suggested that the party move on to Phandalin and see if they could discover who might know it’s whereabouts there.
Sildar offered to pay the party 50 gp for their troubles, upon his safe arrival at Phandalin. The heroes agreed, and transported the stolen goods from the cave, and Sildar, back to the Triboar Trail and continued on to the town.
They arrived at nightfall, delivering the goods to Barthen’s Provisions and Lionshield Coster before retiring to the Stonehill Inn. As they entered the inn, the party looked across the road and saw a strange girl and a boy holding a doll. In the distance, evening mist clung to a four-storey house on the village green that looked out of place there. A cart passed by, and mysteriously, the girl and boy seemed to have vanished. A hooded figure in the doorway regarded the heroes and said, “You saw them too, didn’t you?”