After spending a few days at Rivenscroft getting everything squared away and deciding not to sail on to Port Bhaal with the Windsinger, Tash and Ivan bid farewell to Laurel and Esmerelda and they decide to return to the mines to fully scout the place and leave markers to indicate their intent to lay claim to the mine.
As they travel the path back to the mine, they come across sign (scat) of what appears to be a large Owlbear. They arrive at the mine without incident and notice carrion crows flying around above the walls. Shooting the crows down and entering the compound, they find that the corpses they left lying about has drawn some attention in the few days they have been gone.
In addition to a handful of Carrion Crows, there are two large tentacled beasts feeding upon the corpses (Carrion Crawlers) and a Ghoul feasting upon the dead kobolds in the lower mines.
The heroes readily defeat these foes and proceed to clean the compound and secure the ‘back doors’ the fleeing kobolds had used and secure the gate with some additional timbers.
After spending a few days here getting everything cleaned up, they decide it is time to go back to Rivenscroft again. Tash is excited about the possibilities of the mine and has begun talking about buying into the creamery the Rivens run, as they produce what is without a doubt a very fine cheese.
As they head back towards the settlement, they come across an old man in the forest, He introduces himself as a caretaker of the forest and asks if they would like to come back to his home, that he has some items that might be of use to them.
Since strangers offering candy, er magic items seems perfectly acceptable to adventurers (and they can always kill the bastard and take his stuff if he turns out to be evil), they follow him to his home, learning as they travel of a ruined tower a little ways to the north, about halfway between Rivenscroft and Port Bhaal. Apparently this tower once belonged to a mighty wizard of some type.
Upon arriving at the old man’s home (a huge hollowed tree) they are (SURPRISE, okay, not really a bit surprise) attacked by the man and his trained animal minions. Quickly dispatching the Evil bastard and his dog and cat (Wolf and Mountain Lion, actually), they decide to see if he actually had any items of interest in his big hollow tree or if he was just planning on killing them and having their kidneys with a nice chianti and fava beans.
Inside the tree/hovel, they find a dirty (as you might imagine) living area and a concealed trap door leading down under the tree. Venturing under the tree, they find a chamber with a woman and her son locked in cages, a large bell hanging from the ceiling and a big hole in the floor, surrounded by shackles mounted to the floor, complete with bloodstains and a scattering of bones.
Freeing the woman and her son, they learn that the most recent set of bones belonged to the woman’s husband, and that the hermit had summoned his ‘god’ from down below to feast upon the sacrifice and that she and her son were to be subject to the same fate had the heroes not arrived.
Escorting the woman (Clarissa Farmer) and her son, Tommy to the base of the stairs, the heroes lay heavy tables over the hole, then set a trap to cause an explosion and then rang the bell to summon the creature, which appeared with tentacles flailing about the edges of the table. They fled, barred the door and raced up the stairs. Getting out of the hovel just as the trap they set went off, they were startled when the hollow tree suddenly howled and began pulling itself from the ground, apparently angered.
Making their way back to Rivenscroft, they find out that Clarissa has relatives who were in mining and has contacts with the Miners guild in Port Bhaal. They offer her the job of managing the mine and she accepts.
Arriving back at the Inn, they find that another ship has docked for the night and meet Karvast the wizard.