After dumping the piece of the Vonindod in the Mirar river the group enters Mirabar. Harshnag stays outside the city as he avoids smallfolk cities (except Waterdeep) so as to not frighten the people. The group heads to the main traveler's inn and tavern to eat, the Dwarven Pick, complete with a pick axe above the door. They walk in to see a familiar half-elf sitting at a table playing a new lute. Birel stops her song, looks up and says "what took you guys so long?"
Everyone is surprised by Birel being there. They eagerly sit down to feast and share tales of the last 40 days.
On the way back from Jalanthar after meeting with the old ranger who gave Korgudar a giant-slaying sword, the party was heading to the southwest Sword Coast to find a green dragon, Old Gnawbone, in the Kryptgarden Forest. But just before reaching the city of Tribor Birel falls ill with some travel sickness, road rot or something.
Tribor is a bustling mercantile town which stands where the Evermoor Way (which the party was on) meets the Long Road (which the party was going to take south to Kryptgarden). They stop at the local inn, Northshield House, and meet the proprietor, Urgala Meltimer. She knows the Abbot in Goldenfields, due to the trade routes, and had heard of Bob's time spent at Goldenfields repairing the abbey. The Abbot spoke highly of Bob's piety. She offers to watch over Birel while the party continues on their journey. The party gives her some gold for her trouble.
After 2 days Birel comes out of her fever weak but okay. After 5 days of rest Birel is feeling tip top but bored as hell. Not being sure how to find the group and with the taste of adventure fresh she remembers the ring she received. Thinking it could help she whispers the name of the halfling to ring, "Keltan Dardragon." A spectral halfling appears.
Keltan: "Hello! Do you need some help?"
Birel: "Yes, I need to know where my fiends are."
The extremely happy halfling says "Looking for some friends? Hmmm. I'm not sure I can help with that. Perhaps if I play you a little song on my lute that'll make you feel better? Wait where's my lute? I've lost it! No wait, I hid it. That's right."
Birel perks up, thinking a lute would be nice. She asks "where did you hide it?"
Keltan says "I hid it safely in a tower under a stone in the floor. Unfortunately I died before I could get it."
Birel asks "which tower? Where?"
Keltan says excitedly jumping up and down "A tower on the north edge of Westwood not far from Kheldell!"
Looking at the map Birel sees it's only 6 days south from Tribor. Birel asks "can you help me any more?"
Keltan becomes sullen and says "Hmm, I don't think so. I must be pretty dead now. But I do like you. If you find it please sing an old halfling tune in my memory?"
Birel agrees and Keltan vanishes. She tries to speak the name into the ring again but nothing happens. Birel finds a caravan going south the next morning. Maybe she'll run into the party on the Long Road.
Birel arrives at Kheldell and heads towards Westwood. After a day's journey she spots a crumbling tower atop a hill less than a quarter mile away. Parts of its conical roof and outer shell have fallen inward, leaving a gaping hole above which four hawks circle. As she approaches she notices a large boulder blocks the tower's ground-floor entrance, and a horrible noise comes from within – a deep guttural, dirge pouring from the lips of something awful.
She casts invisibility on herself and investigates. She finds she can barely squeeze around the boulder into the base of the tower. She looks up and see's a female hill giant weeping and wailing sitting on the second floor. The floor is half gone and the giantesses feet dangle over the edge of the floor. Birel looks around the ground floor and spots a loose stone. She carefully moves the stone and finds a small chest beneath. She'll never get it out. So she opens the chest, the lock has long since rusted away to be no longer functional. Inside she sees a lute and potion vial and 300 silver pieces. But the rusty lock falls off the chest and clangs on the floor.
The giant stops and listens and sniffs the air. The hawks flying over make some noises and she seems content to return to her wailing. Birel pockets the lute and potion and leaves the silver as it would be too noisy to pick up. She squeezes herself out the way she entered and heads back to Kheldell.
She looks over the lute. It doesn't show any signs of wear. It's a beautiful instrument. She is hesitant to stop using her own lute since it reminds her of a lost love. She gives it a try anyway, singing a sad halfling tune about friends taken too soon.
Birel becomes attuned to it and realizes it is a Doss Lute, one of the exquisite instruments of the bards. The lute has these powers.
She decides she will use the Doss Lute as it will surely allow her to create new and spectacular songs never before heard.
Not being sure where the group is beyond them heading to the Kryptgarden forest to find a green dragon, not something she wants to do alone, she recalls the note they received after escorting the beer wagon to Mornbryn's Shield:
Daggerford is just 8 days away so why not. Birel finds a caravan heading to Waterdeep (on the way to Daggerford) and hitches a ride. From Waterdeep to Daggerford she has an uneventful journey on horseback. Upon reaching the Happy Cow she finds that her friends had come through 7 days prior, had a brief meeting with a half-elf gentleman, and departed the next day.
After thinking about it, she realizes she best head back to Tribor since that's where they last saw her. But they have a 7 day head start. She decides to take some shortcuts, leaving the Long Road to shave some time off her journey. She cuts across land through Nightstone which has been rebuilding and is looking much improved. While going through the Ardeep Forest to the north of Nightstone she runs into some wood elves who help her navigate the woods and onto Goldenfields. The Abbot welcomes her warmly and sends her on a supply caravan heading to Tribor.
After her 10 day trek to Tribor she returns to Northshield House where Urgala has a note for her. The group came through 5 days prior and is headed north to Mirabar to something called the Eye of the All-Father. Mirabar is 10 days journey and she will not be able to make up enough time to catch up. She is frustrated and distraught.
As she is drowning her sorrows in a pint of ale an elegant human man joins her. He introduces himself as Krowen Valharrow, a member of the Harpers. She shares her woes. He is well aware of the "giant problem" and this upheaval poses a grave threat to the balance of power in the North. He has it on good authority that the Harpers, the Lord's Alliance, the Emerald Enclave, the Order of the Gauntlet, and the Zhentarim are all taking steps to protect civilization against the giant's depredations. He offers the assistance of the Harpers.
Birel says that's great but how will that help me get to my friends? He says " I have something to show you in Yartar, 2 days east." She says "that puts me further from Mirabar. In 5 days they will be there!" He says "in 2 days you will be in Mirabar." Surprised, Birel agrees to go with him.
Krowen takes Birel to Yartar and they go to a dilapidated villa and are greeted by a cantankerous man named Kolbaz. He ushers the two back to the garden patio. The 40' square patio is surrounded by an 8' ivy-covered wall. The patio looks beautiful, it contains several benches, statues of frolicking dryads and satyrs and lovely flowers. Birel enters the patio and sees that it is in fact an illusion. The patio is as dilapidated as the villa itself. But a circle is inscribed in the ground. Krowen gives Birel a map of which cities have circles. He says these circles allow travel between the cities. He says Birel will be known to the Harpers and can use the circles at any time. He wishes Birel and the group luck.
Birel steps on the circle and in a flash she's standing in a stable house loft surrounded by hay. She climbs down and is greeted by a dwarf, Zazspar Bronzefire. He says "welcome to Mirabar." Birel looks surprised. He says " I never get tired of doing that to people." He explains that "the city above ground is where humanfolk live and the city below ground is where we dwarves live." He suggests a notable inn and tavern where travelers tend to stay, the Dwarven Pick, adorned with a mining pick over the door.
Birel spends 3 days scoping out the city. She's having a drink at the Dwarven Pick and a familiar crew enters. Birel stops playing a song on her new lute to say, "what took you guys so long?"