Our heroes have spent a month in Port Bhaal taking care of business and relaxing. A few days before they are set to head back north, they meet a young dragonborn named Doctor Cerulean. He is a cousin of Klarent the Black, from The Nest. His cousin has suggested that he join the heroes to gain some experience of the outside world.
He accompanies the group back to Baileys, where Master Bailey asks if they would mind going over to Hragnar’s Inn a few days to the east and see if they can find what is delaying his son, Joshua, who is overdue after delivering cheese and other items to the neighboring Inn.
Traveling to Hragnar’s, the group spot a pair of booted legs sticking out of the snow under a bush off to the side of the road. Examining the body, they note that his skull appears to be somewhat shriveled, and that he has four puckered wounds on either side of his head. Doctor Cerulean tells the others of a species of creature that he has read of, called Illithids, or ‘Mind Flayer’s’ and that the wounds remind him of what he has read of them.
Proceeding with a bit of caution to a hill overlooking Hragnar’s, the group uses Ivan’s spyglass to have a look at the compound below. They see a number of creatures who are taller than the wall around the inn. At least one giant, several ogres and ettins, and they see a purple skinned, tentacled faced creature moving among the buildings. They also see what appears to be the residents of the compound, hanging by their ankles, but still very much alive, including Joshua Bailey.
As they watch, they see a manticore launch itself from the roof of the watch tower in the center of the village and begin what is apparently a patrol flight, circling outward in ever-widening circles from the walls. Scrambling to hide themselves from view, they were unsuccessful and manage to instead attract the attention of the beast. Slipping on the snowy ground as it landed, the manticore was quickly dispatched before it could attack the heroes.
Hearing a drum beginning to beat, the group looks down the hill and see the giant-kin, along with a pack of dogs, what appears to be two large boars and a couple of bears heading their way.
Deciding to give ground and find a better place to fight, the heroes retreat down the hill back towards the way they came from. Ivan lags back to keep the enemy in sight and see what they are going to do. Four of the ogres continue running towards the retreating heroes, who pick a spot to stand their ground, and do battle with the four.
After dispatching them, Ivan moves forward to check the trail behind them, narrowly avoiding getting hit with a boulder thrown by the Hill Giant. Warning the others, they prepare for the next wave, which consists of a dozen dogs, two giant boars, two brown bears, the hill giant, two ettins and three more ogres. They think they see a smaller figure moving off the road to the side in the dark and then the battle begins. A fireball makes quick work of the bears and boars, and several of the dogs, and scorches the giantkin.
A pitched battle ensues, during which, Tash steps off the trail to see if the shadowy figure is the illithid, and finds to his dismay that it is, as it steps out from behind a tree and attacks him with it’s tentacles. He manages to pull himself free of the embrace and moves back to the road, alerting Kar of the creature’s presence. Kar hits it with a magical attack, driving the Illithid off into the darkness. Tash begins to give chase, and then decides to let it go. Battered and bloody, the heroes manage to prevail over the giantkin, and although they are exhausted and battered, press on back to Hragnar’s where they overcome the remaining Ogre guarding the prisoners and release the residents. After resting the night, they return with Joshua to Baileys and inform Master Bailey of what happened. Another day or rest and they head to the Nest to inform the Ophidian Queen of the Governor’s desire for an initial talk regarding official relations. Spending the night with the Ophidians, the group head out the upper exit to go upriver and see if the Sorcerer had met Ivan’s friend.
They spend a week with the Sorcerer, who repairs Kar’s staff of power that was damaged in the fight with the giantkin. They find out that Ivan’s friend did pass through and had spent some time with the Sorcerer, Bael, before heading north into the Wastelands. Bael tells them how to find the best path down into the Wastes and tells them to be wary of the Centaurs, who are apparently allies with the giants.