The group decide that they’re best placed to go to Vandalin. It’s two days’ south from their current location, and that’s where Gwendalyn and Gundren had been headed.
As they recuperate along the way, Gwendalyn explains more about what she and her brother were doing in the area. Some months ago, Gundren had been bequeathed a map by his uncle, Burgen. The map was old and torn, yet nearly complete in its description of a long-lost mine buried in the mountains of Sunder. This mine had been founded and run by the Hearthhold dwarves and a clan of gnomes nearly 800 years ago and was said to contain a vault filled with powerful magical treasures. But, the mine was overrun in the Great War many hundreds of years ago, and its location and contents are now unknown. Gwendalyn’s uncle, Burgen, believed that he was being pursued by dark forces for this map, hence why he gave it to Gundren in secret for safekeeping. Burgen was never specific about the dark forces in question, but he did refer to the ‘Black Veil’ on one occasion.
Gwendalyn readily admits that she and her brother were excited to have the map, and may have been too bold in talking about it. Her brother belonged to an organisation called the Forge, a semi-secret alliance of adventurers that scour the lands for ancient artefacts that they can use against oncoming threats. As can be imagined, a map to a hidden vault of long-buried treasure seemed too good to be true. Gundren and Gwendalyn had travelled to Foolshelm and brokered a meeting with two brothers – Futhir and Thrannir – who were descendants of the gnomes that had established the mine, and may be able to fill in some gaps. In Foolshelm, Gundren also met with a former Forge agent named Elliyas, who had retired in Vandalin a few months beforehand and could organise a secure meeting place for them there. That meeting was due to fall on the day the adventurers discovered Gwendalyn in the cave.
So, what’s happened to Gundren and his map? Why was Burgen killed – was it the map, or something else? Who was Aadara, and where had she come from? What’s this business about the Raven King, and why did the bugbear talk about “Lantern’s Flame” at Burgen’s Farm? Who was paying the bugbear to kill, capture and raid the lands of Sunder, and why was so much of the coin from The Heathlands? Where’s the mine, and what mysteries does it contain? Where are Futhir and Thrannir? What does Elliyas know?
The answers to some of these questions will be found, it seems, in Vandalin…