After a well-deserved rest, the adventuring pair questioned the captive mage and former head of the Redbrands, Iarno, hearing details about the mysterious “Black Spider,” the approximate location of Cragmaw Castle, and the fact that Gundren Rockseeker is prisoner there. The grateful townsfolk threw a small celebration for the local heroes as well. Joswin and Draco decided that the highest priority was rescuing Gundren Rockseeker, so they purchased some horses from Barthen’s Provisions and headed north into the Neverwinter Woods. A strong internal sense of direction and Iarno’s instructions allowed them to find the castle with ease. Not seeing any sentries posted outside, they approached cautiously, taking the time to surreptitiously stalk the perimeter and examine the crumbling fortress from every angle. Finally they decided to try the postern gate due to its secluded location, and this turned out to be a wise choice, as they made it to the locked door without being noticed. the iron door gave them some difficulty, as neither one was prepared for nor skilled at the art of unlocking. It took them quite some time, but they managed to avoid notice by a hobgoblin patrol, and finally made their way inside.
Once inside the castle, they worked their way stealthily and ruthlessly through the interior, taking out group after group of surprised and undisciplined goblins without alerting others. After much searching and resulting bloodshed, the pair of adventurers burst into King Grol’s chamber, interrupting a heated exchange between the aforementioned bugbear and a dark elf, with an unconscious dwarf in the corner. Thinking they’d already found the “Black Spider” the team leapt into action. Draco bounded in, his fury boiling over as he tied up King Grol and the bugbear’s pet wolf. The Draw attempted to escape, but the more level-headed Joswin spotted her and intercepted her down in the corridor outside Grol’s tower.
Draco finished off his foes in quick and brutal fashion, and joined Joswin just as a pair of hobgoblin guards, investigating the fracas, joined the fray. however, even these reinforcements were too little to change the tide of the battle. Defeat of the dark elf revealed that she was actually a doppelganger – clearly a mere agent of the Black Spider. Bloodied but triumphant, the pair of rescuers revived Gundren, recovered his map, and fled the castle, leaving the few remaining inhabitants to be dealt with another time.
Returning to Phandalin, Gundren filled them in on what he knew, and the location of Wave Echo Cave, urging them to travel there and rescue his brothers as well.