The party, sans Brennok, continued their two day downtime.
Group: The entire group came back together after the attempted assassination attempt from the Cult of the Dragon.
Aur: Aur continued crafting his new helm, purchasing gems and having them affixed. He also spent some time to chat with Drenomere about inks, although Drenomore had complained that his shipments from nearby supply chain towns were being attacked by the Cult of the Dragon, and made impossible to get materials. He mentioned that the next nearly guaranteed shipment from his hometown of Gladstrom would be perhaps a week or two out still.
From here, Aur traveled to the Ascendant Quarter in search of Branken, who he found talking with Alister within the Harper Office within the Wavemeet Castle. Here Alister provided Aur one of his traveling spellbooks, and provided enough ink to supply him with two 7th level spells. A mysterious new figure to Aur, the High Harper Durst, was sitting in the back of the room, agitatedly allowing Aur’s presence. The smell of dry rot permeated the room.
Branken: Branken continued his meeting with Skippy and Ripley, but also sent skippy out to get two fresh doors, get skilled dwarves, and a few other missions. Skippy said that Lady Dala Silmerhelve (the lady in green) had a new guest over, but she might have a bit of time to get into contact with the masterwork stonemasons in White Stone.
From here Branken went to the Ascendant Quarter, encountering many of the Council men and women, as well as Lady Silverhand and Remalia chatting, with Silverhand pushing papers into Remalia’s hands. Seeing you, she chatting with you a small bit, and impressed upon you the need for secrecy and to reduce the party’s irreverent approach to wandering into town with freshly killed corpses. She then took the papers from Remalia and told you to given them to Rian Nightshade for delivery. Lady Silverhand left to upstairs, while the freshly unburdened Remalia left the castle.
Shortly after this conversation, Leosin Erlanthar appeared, and through some questions, admitted that the 7bag of holding has a second keyed portal that Leosin has within his realm of influence. Although he asked if Branken needed a demonstration, he took the old monk at his word.
Here Branken waited to meet Rian for about half an hour, at which point she made an appearance. Barely speaking, she gestured for Branken to follow into a room, where they began to chat. Here she began folding the papers, while she agreed to answer two of Branken’s questions if he would deliver the letters. First, Branken learned that the assassins who had broken into his house were not Zhentarim, nor could they have been the Rot Kings. The Dragon Cultists, according to Rian, likely were not culprits either, leaving only the Stelhard Syndicate to blame. Through ever her best workers, the Syndicate continuously eludes her, the Harpers, the city and royal guards, and even Lady Silverhand or Taern Hornblade. Second, Branken learned that the fishmonger was the one to place the hit with the Syndicate. A fishmonger that was supposedly already dead. She gave a free question as well, speaking about death on the council. The Lady Silverhand’s aide, a young man from Whitestone, was found dead (having hanged himself) with the dead corpse of the dwarven aide from the Mithral Hall in front of him. Much death has been coursing through the city, and she informed Branken that they are doing what they are able to to remove the problems. Lastly, she warned that the Syndicate, as far as she knew, had at most three or four agents within the city, but even one agent was dangerous enough for any organization. The agents were likely part of the Arcanum, one of the three major organizations that fall under the umbrella of the Syndicate. The other two, the Feral (stupid and easily manipulated brutish barbarians) and the Blackhands (skilled swordsmen, gladiators, and a few worthwhile assassins) also fall underneath the occult Syndicate. She warned that the Arcanum and their death mages were perhaps the most dangerous, with magic practitioners honing their spells for the profession of insurrection, coups, and of course contract fulfillment. She said if it were her, she would never stay in one place long, never use her real name, never be seen, and never show her true face, all while tracking down the heart of the Syndicate, rumored to have spread like a cancer from the east, in a human outpost called Gladstrom.
From here, Rian made her way out, directing Branken to place each letter on the corresponding councilperson’s desk, upstairs. This Branken did, encountering Silverhand again. She spoke of the spells Scrying and Speak with Dead, and the ability of those who work for the council to perform each, given the right components. She took her letter, and Branken continued, with the exception of Remalia, who’s room was locked. Descending the stairs, Branken encountered Alister and Aur, both of whom were making their way back upstairs. Inside Branken saw Durst, the Mummy Lord from the Court of Bones, apparently a High Harper and important leader within the Harpers guild. Branken placed his letter down, and bit the group farewell, after asking Durst a bit more about himself (apparently betrayed by the Mages of Saruun many years ago. His friends entombed within gems, which Branken turned back over).
Branken left from here to continue investigating for assassins before his appointments with Ripley and Skippy. Finding many Zhentarim agents and boundary runes who now acknowledge Branken’s gaze, he also saw one figure vanishing within the very shadows, dressed in a black cloak. Branken however was unable to follow.
Cain: Cain did a bit of shopping, ensuring his sword was etched, his armor was commissioned, his robes were brought back to wearable conditions, and his other orders were taken care of. He also purchased and constructed half a barrel worth of black powder, which he stuffed into four vials, and had Nah’Krinn create a few metal containers, which also were likewise stuffed with pebbles and black powder.
Cain also went to visit the White Swords in look for Daea. The entire area of the White Swords was absolutely packed, with many, many new adventurers swarming the area, both inside and outside the building. Here Cain asked to see Daea, but was unable to get a hold of her, as Abbadar the contract broker explained she had been gone for at least a month now on one of her hunts, and nobody except she knows about her business. Cain left behind a letter for her to get into contact with him upon her arrival back into Wavemeet.
From here, Cain looked though the contracts, found one asking for a Nightmare heart and Basilisk eyes, and decided to find Nah’krinn to get ready to do the basilisk mission. They together spent the evening getting prepared, with a polymorph spell in his ring of storing, and some book knowledge gained from the likewise filled library of the Ivy District.
Nah’krinn: His first day was spent seeking out the temple of Bahamut in the northern part of the Ivy District (the Wise District specifically), making a huge (3,000gp) donation to the church, and asking the clergy on staff if he could start sending his order aspirants this direction. Spending a bit of time creating a job posting outside the White Swords, also taking in the sudden surge of adventurers, both healthy and seemingly recuperating, Nah’Krinn placed his final draft on the board. Skippy was hired at 7gp a week, and would become Nah’krinn’s runner. Together, he and Cain began their mission of gathering materials required for their journey out, while later that night forging the first of Cain’s makeshift ‘bombs’.
Group: The entire party were woken up early the following day by a knock at the front door, as a typically early Skippy entreated them to look towards the sky. Here, the party could just make out a large blot just visible through the early rays of sunlight. Walking out of the shack, other merchants and guards had taken notice too, pointing it out, with many guards making their way to the gates. Here there was a crowd of guards around a single Harper agent, who was trying to explain that all was alright, and that they should return to their homes. Nah’krinn, using his official badge, climbed the tower and took a good look at the now looming blot upon the sky. Here he made out what appeared to be a floating vessel, a ship borne aloft in the air, with a headway directly for the city of Wavemeet. The Harper agent, nearly hysterically was trying to get guards back to where they were needed, as the ship’s enormous shadow passed over the city, a minute later followed by the massive flying skyship. Standing at the bow of the ship, a foot raised up upon a railing, was a very confident and charismatic fellow, a blond goatee and mustache and rich red colored finery and a red cape. ‘Behold, Sony Tark , Dragonslayer of Gladstrom and Savior of this City HAS ARRIVED!’ he shouted out, as the ship made its way, descending all the while, towards Castle Wavemeet. The ship itself seemed manned by massive 10-12 foot tall crew members, all at the ready at nearly a dozen massive arbalests on the ship. The party, curious, nevertheless went about their own duties, with the Harper agent making the wry comment while shaking his head (“THAT is certainly worse that wandering in with a dragon’s head on your shoulders”).
Aur: Like the rest of the party, Aur saw Cain and Nah’Krinn leave the city,m making their way north to White Stone to kill some basilisks. Purchasing a bit more ink and getting more work done on his helmet, Aur disappeared back into Castle Wavemeet, to continue inscribing his spells, now alone entirely. Part way through his inscribing, Branken barged into the room, looking worried. He asked Aur to send a message to Cain and Nah’krinn that they were going to be beset by assassins, and that they should turn back to town immediately. Aur chose to comply, and then went back to his inscribing. Returning back to the Shack late at night (6pm).
Branken: Early in the morning, Branken saw Cain and Nah’Krinn leave for their mission, while the dwarves appeared. Branken quickly set them about their mission as Skippy’s installer came by with the two big doors, installing them both. Branken continued his work with Ripley and Skippy, but also came across more Zhentarim agents as well as two more black robed figures. These two were chatting, and Branken was able to gather that they were plotting to kill the two party members that separated themselves from the group. Branken attempted to give chase, but the two now disguised assassins vanished into shadow before any real damage could be dished out. Worried for their well being, Branken ran to find Aur, and have him send a message to Cain and Nah’Krinn. Again Branken came across Rian, this time looming over the balcony as below Sony Tark was greeting/singing/discussing with many guards, council members, and other royal people (flanked by two massive stone automatons) about his great feats and stories. Rian spoke more about the Syndicate, providing Branken with one of the guilds’ magic cloaks, and warning Branken that she had seen him speaking with Skippy the other day before being swallowed into shadow, just like the Syndicate members…
Cain and Nah’Krinn: Setting out together, Cain purchased himself a horse and Nah’Krinn summoned his regally named steed, and together they set out, accompanied for a while by other adventurers who were out on a mission as well. The first four hours went by without too much trouble, with only occasionally some birds and wildlife making an appearance, the adventurers long since turning east away from the path of Cain and Nah’Krinn. Nah’krinn however received a whisper from Aur, carried aloft on an arcane wind, warning them of incoming assassins. Not too long after that, both Cain and Nah’krinn caught two unknown figures attempting to scry upon them. Spooked, they began to formulate ideas of a counter-trap, keeping along the path they came in on (but off a ways to see if anyone might have been following), they became more and more anxious. Cain, finally, spotted a figure hundreds of feet off, but only just before a series of three whirlwinds began slamming into Nah’Krinn and Cain. Later identified as Invisible Stalkers, the two adventurers fought in vain as the elementals tore into them, with the assassins not too far off, closing in as well.
Deciding that running was by far the best choice, Cain polymorphed himself into a giant owl and took flight, while Nah’Krinn took the moment of distraction to run away. The three wizards hurled spells at the two, but their speed eventually put them out of reach, the stalker turning Cain’s horse into blood soup within seconds.
Arriving out of breath into Wavemeet, the two regrouped with their friends.
Aur created a magnificent demiplane mansion for the group to rest in for the evening, protecting them from any unwanted intruders.
Day Three — Council Meeting Day
The entire party woke up together within the mansion, carefully leaving it. Darmok was waiting outside, and quickly enchanted the entire building, bringing the defenses of the place back into line, and also providing a partial days protection from Elementals entering the building.
Skippy did some running for the group, Darmok finished his work, the dwarves made their leave, and eventually the party prepared for the council meeting later today.
A knock was heard at the door, and behind it a concerned looking Skippy, acting a little oddly. He asked if he could see Branken outside for a moment. Producing a gem, he asked Branken if he knew anything about it, or if he had asked Skippy to place it in the coffers. In that moment, Branken felt a terrible sucking feeling that he was able to resist, but that left Skippy in shock. Opening the door to see what the commotion was, Nah’Krinn too felt the sucking feeling. Standing there a little dazed, Nah’Krinn told the party he was fine.
Nah’krinn quickly told the party they should destroy the gem, and agreeing, the party sent Skippy to hand the gem to Remallia Haventree — the Harpers. He made his way on out, as Aur became suspicious, recognizing the effect of the spell. BRanken began to make his way out, as he had things to do, as did Nah’Krinn. Aur balked thier attempts, asking each where was the first time they had seen Aur. Nah’Krinn then misty stepped out of the room.
Not to be left behind, the party gave chase. Onto the roof of the shack. There Nah’krinn stood, a terrible smile upon his face. Aur’s spells glanced off this foe, as Branken leap put him within a grapple on the foe. Cain climbed the building, while the foe in Nah’krinn’s body misty stepped to Cain. Reaching out with a finger of Death, Cain felt his life force drained, but luckily not snuffed. The party continued their fight, trying to incapacitate Nah’Krinn, but each time he teleported away.
The fight poured into the streets, alerting the guards as Aur came into possession of the ruby gem again (recovering ti from Skippy, who quickly kept running off to Remallia). Nah’krinn, turning away from the flying Aur, ran instead into a nearby building filled with a family.
The party surrounded Nah’krinn- Aur at the window, Branken in the door, and Cain gliding through the wall to flank Nah’Krinn. With a terrible laugh, the foe launched an overcharged fireball into the room, incinerating the family and badly wounding everyone in the room.
Aur tossed his final hold person spell, succeeding at immobilizing Nah’Krinn. Cain shortly after felt a terrible sucking feeling at his soul, but succeeded. Nah’Krinn now, spoke out ‘Its me!" but the party was understandably cautious, with Aur again asking questions only Nah’Krinn would know.
Branken grabbed the gem, and saw its magic wink out. Aur saw a guard tear away from the crowd, running toward the center of the city as fast as his armor would let him. Branken brought his hammer down onto the gem, shattering it. Aur saw the guard stumble, and fall flat to the ground. A moment passes, and the guard, dizzy, picked himself up, looking around confusedly.
The party did their best to explain the situation to the guard, who said they would be sending for the royal guard to deal with this scenario, putting the entire group on arrest within the Shack. From there, the party found their trap for the Invisible Stalkers had worked, with the Stalkers easily dispatched at range.
Healing with a short rest, the council is only an hour away…..