The morning after their hauntingly real-feeling dream, Gaius, Linny, and Ye’Kan awoke and went downstairs to the tavern for breakfast and drinks. Linny noticed a letter pinned to the back of Gaius’ shirt with a drawing of a red amulet on the cover. The group unfolded it and saw that it was from Medivh; it explained that he had also experienced the dream and had left to seek answers about what it meant. He thanked the three of them for their time together thus far and said that he would return someday. This made the group realize that they had all had the exact same dream about traveling into the future, which caused Gaius to run around the tavern demanding to know what year it was. Linny questioned Toblen the innkeeper who said he had seen Medivh leave a few hours prior but hadn’t seen in which direction he had went. The three remaining adventurers searched Phandalin for the rest of the day, but could find no trace of their blind wizard friend.
A few weeks passed, during which the party stayed in Phandalin and assisted the townsfolk in their own various ways with varying degrees of usefulness: Linny tended to the injured and watched out for the families, Ye’Kan continued flirting with the uninterested Linene Graywind and thought maybe he was starting to make some progress (but he probably wasn’t), and Gaius was asked to stop helping with the rebuilding efforts after he accidentally wallpapered Medivh’s letter on a wall inside the reconstructed Townmaster’s Hall and just did burpees all day instead.
One night as they were sitting around a table in the tavern, the door opened and a familiar face approached them. It was the roguish Elf that had joined their party in the dream, Osborne Vancleef. Osborne sat down, stabbed a dagger into the table, and demanded to know why he had been in the dream with them. He said he had come to Phandalin—which the others had said they were from multiple times during the dream—to find the group and figure out what their connection was. Being just as in the dark as their new Elf associate, Gaius, Linny, and Ye’Kan were unable to provide any answers — Medivh was gone and the celestial woman from the dream had spoken only in vague couplets, so they had no way of figuring anything out. All they knew was that Osborne also appeared alongside them in Medivh’s journal, so he must also be an important part of whatever was happening. Osborne, for his part, seemed less than willing to stay put in Phandalin and help the do-gooders support the townsfolk but was nonetheless determined to find answers.
The four of them sat around the table and discussed their options—save the world or something?—for a while, until the door of the tavern opened again and an odd-looking small human man entered. Walking with a limp and wearing an eyepatch, this little man hobbled around the bar seeming to be searching for someone and then lit up when he saw the party. He limped over to their table with great excitement, introduced himself as Hues, and exclaimed that he was so happy to have found them. He seemed to know a great deal about them — Linny’s full eight-word name, Ye’Kan’s “Owlbear Slayer” nickname that never quite caught on, and Gaius’ reputation as a Kensington as well as his father. The little man did not recognize Osborne, however, incorrectly addressing him as Medivh and asking how he got his eyes back. When he finally calmed down enough, Hues explained that he was a carriage driver sent to deliver a letter to the party — a letter that Osborne stole out of his hand before he could unfold it. This letter said that children were disappearing from the nearby town of Almamoon and that the author (Trevor Belmont)’s brother had also disappeared while looking for them. Having heard about their heroic deeds in Phandalin and Wave Echo Cave, Trevor thought adventurers of their stature could help save his town as well.
Linny of course freaked out at the mention of lost children and demanded to know more. Hues said about 12 children had disappeared over the course of a few weeks and that nobody had any real leads. Without hesitation, Linny announced that they would go to Almamoon and figure out what was going on. Osborne agreed to join them, still unsure about his connection with the group but interested in figuring out why he was there. The next morning while Hues was preparing the carriage, Ye’Kan went to Lionshield Coster to see Linene. The shopkeeper was unexcited at best to see her ardent admirer and her mood did not change when he left her his owlbear skull as a token of love and swore to return to her safely. Back at the carriage, Hues was overwhelmed by all the luggage and furniture Gaius was bringing along and suggested that the young paladin ride up front with him to save space. Osborne and Ye’Kan rode in the carriage not trusting one another yet, and Linny rode alongside on her draft horse Rapidash while pulling their other horses Phenis and Mara behind her.
Almamoon was about a day’s journey from Phandalin and the road went straight through Forest Nightingale, where the canopy created by the huge trees seemed to black out the sky. After they had been traveling for a few hours, Hues’ incessant rambling was interrupted when an arrow flew out of the trees and straight into his one good eye, killing him instantly and causing him to drop the reigns. Gaius quickly took over so the carriage wouldn’t lose control, and the party saw several archers out in the forest and many bandits approaching them from behind on horseback. Osborne quickly did a sweet corkscrew flip off the cart and onto one of the pursuers’ horses, killing the bandit and gaining a better position for his attacks. Gaius summoned his celestial steed Francine so he could telepathically direct it to attack while he was driving. While trying to shake the attackers, the carriage came to a quick and violent stop as the horses in front refused to crash into a pile of rocks in the road. Linny, Gaius, and Hues’ corpse were flung down onto the path and the battle continued on foot. Eventually the foes were vanquished and there were horses everywhere. Linny cast Revivify on the fallen Hues, resurrecting the little man despite quiet protests from Ye’Kan. They regrouped and eventually reached Almamoon by nightfall.
As they approached the town they saw it was roughly three times the size of Phandalin. They all sensed a strange smell of copper in the air, which Gaius announced outloud to everyone anyway. Hues instructed the party to go to Evermore Tavern where Trevor Belmont would be waiting for them. When they entered they were greeted by a human waitress named Terra, who seemed somewhat distracted and distraught but told them they could find Trevor in the back. The boys moved ahead but Linny stayed back to talk to the woman, and she discovered that Terra’s daughter Liara was one of the children that had been taken. Linny divulged that she had also lost her children in her past and swore to Terra that they would save her daughter. In the back of the room the group found Trevor, a middle-aged human man who seemed rundown but uninterested in his own appearance.
Trevor told them that the children always disappeared in pairs, one boy and one girl, and strange music echoed through the town each time they vanished without a trace. He explained that he was just a shopkeeper but had contacted the party when his brother Leon, Terra’s partner, had gone searching for the missing children and never returned. Leon had gone to the nearby Mountains of Yule, a snowy range rumored to be ruled by a giant, to investigate, and Trevor suggested that the party also head in that direction. He also told of strange occurrences in two other nearby areas, the Miasma Marshlands and the Forgotten Keep, that could be worth checking out. As he talked the party noticed him giving strange looks to gnome Linny, half-elf Ye’Kan, and elf Osborne, and when pressed he told them that Almamoon had not seen a non-human in a very long time. His eyes grew even wider when he saw Linny’s fox and said it had been an even longer time since they had seen an animal, and that she should keep an eye on her pet.
The party got up to leave Evermore Tavern and secure lodging and provisions for their investigation the next day. As they exited they were stopped by Terra, who gave them a book to help with their quest. She said it was Leon’s personal journal and had somehow arrived at her home a few days after he left. Giving it a very quick glance, the group noticed that the journal had a few pages ripped out in certain sections — something they had some experience with now at this point. As they stepped out into the street they were quickly confronted by two waiting grimlocks, one a sharp talker named Deetry and one a dumb sack of rocks named Dumock. The creatures demanded the book the group had just received and said that their master commanded it. Osborne moved quickly and struck the smart one from behind, causing the grimlocks to instantly reconsider the battle. They teleported away after the one blow and swore that they would meet again.
Finally the party arrived at the general store Dues’ Payments, which they were surprised to learn was run by a little human man named Dues who was very clearly the carriage driver Hues’ brother. He provided them each with Boots of the Winterlands, which would help them traverse the snowy terrain of the Mountains of Yule and prevent them from freezing. They left to find rooms for the evening and arrived at Lues’ Inn, which was run by yet another member of the Hues/Dues family, a little man named Lues. Ye’Kan bemoaned the very existence of these brothers whose personalities annoyed him to no end. Gaius purchased his customary two rooms for himself, Osborne got his own room so he didn’t have to share with people who were basically still strangers to him, and Linny asked to stay with Ye’Kan so he could help keep an eye on her fox, who she was now very worried about protecting. With the Mountains of Yule waiting for them in the morning, the party rested up unsure of what awaited them on this new quest.