During Torin’s wake the characters learned about a manticore that had been plaguing the hillmen of Redhold. In fact, Hrask the dwarf had come to Redhold to deal with the critter. The wake carried on through the night, but a little after midnight the heroes returned to the guesthouse exhausted and drunk on mead- some much drunker than others. There, Nenthas put on the tiger pelt cloak and began flaunting it. Bjorne grew angry at the elf and demanded he remove the cloak. When Nenthas got hostile towards Bjorne and refused, Bjorne came at him (unarmed) and wrestled him to the ground. He was in the midst of giving the wood elf a good pummeling when the elf managed to pull his hunting knife and stab it into Bjorne’s side. Bjorne rolled off the elf, bleeding horribly from his wound. He desperately tried to summon the strength to cast a healing spell, but before he could Nenthas cast a spell of his own. The elf’s dark magic drained the remainder of Bjorne’s life force, sending the skanzi warrior to his death. Nenthas then ran out of he hut and disappeared into the night. Matteo was too drunk to react to the horrible deed. Flower was more sober, and he grabbed his sword and axe. He chased after the elf. With the aid of the cloak Nenthas was very fast, but Flower had great stamina, and managed to leap down and slash the elf with his blade as Nenthas ran down the ramp that led from the Thane’s plateau to the rest of Redhold. The two fought, and Nenthas again used his drain life spell, this time stealing some of Flower’s life force to heal his wound. It wasn’t enough to bring Flower down, and he slashed Nenthas across the throat with his blade, killing him.
After the fight Flower, Matteo, Tharvald and Nino were all brought before Thane Orwyn to account for the dreadful events. The thane was angry that his son’s sacred wake had been disrupted by such despicable violence. Some of that anger was directed towards Flower for delivering justice to a criminal in his village- a role that should be assumed only by the Thane. Flower gave back the cloak to try and salvage some of the good will he had lost with limited success. It was decided that the bodies of Nenthas and Bjorne be given to Vorn, the crag tiger that the tribe kept in their beast pit. Flower and his companions were banished from Redhold. Their horses and mules were made ready and they were sent out into the night. They camped not far from the hold, and their night passed peacefully.
Two days later they arrived at what remained of the Polmino Silver Mine. They first spent some time exploring the ruins of the town built outside the mine. They discovered that a pair of owlbears had made a den in one of the warehouse buildings. After some discussion they decided it best to take care of the critters before they caused them problems. This proved easier said than done, but after using up the majority of their alchemists’ fire and many arrows they slew both the beasts, though both Matteo and Flower took some nasty injuries, and had luck not been on their side they likely would have been killed. On the bright side, they recovered a pair of owl bear eggs that they knew would fetch a good price back in Scarsport.
In the mines they encountered stirge, signs of purple worm activity and some strange little, aberrant creatures with overly long, rubbery limbs that were far more like tentacles. The things were hostile and caused them some problems, but they killed a few of the critters and drove some others off. The mine itself seemed in tact in many areas and Nino the miner made many notes to bring back to the Polmino family. Due to the presence of the “chokers” the PCs opted not to explore the lower sections of the mine, but they inferred that there was a good chance that the miners had accidentally tunneled into the underdark.
While they were exploring the upper levels of the mine, a large warband of orcs had made their way into the valley and were scavenging among the ruins of the town. The heroes figured it was only a matter of time until the orcs came to explore the mine, so in order to deal with them they concocted a clever plan. They waited until the warband was starting to move towards the mines, and then they used their final flask of alchemists fire to light the smelting house on fire. This resulted in arousing the dozens of stirge that had made the building their home. The little critters flew out in a swarm and immediately set upon the orcs, driving them off. Once the orc threat was dealt with and the stirge had flown off to find new homes, they band emerged from the mine and began the journey back to civilization. On their way out of the valley they spent a bit more time exploring a few of the more intact buildings in the ruined town and were fortunate enough to the find a stash of hidden treasure that must have belonged to the mine manager. This extra compensation made the dangerous expedition seem more worthwhile.